Take risks and play big. Live a life with no regrets.
This is how I encourage clients to live life. And this is how I always try to live mine.
There are only a few occasions where my taking action led to feelings of regret. There were some big risks that went sour and some lessons that hurt to learn. They are inevitable when you’re playing full out in life.
There are two ways that regret, shame and guilt can happen:
1. Doing something that you never thought you would do.
A few years ago, I did something that I never thought I would do: I became the other woman for one night. A friend and I crossed the line and everything changed. We let our attraction run into full expression.
2. During the process, you ignore your gut feeling.
In the moment it was passionate, intense, and full of love. That moment lasted less than a few seconds. Once it had passed, there was a battle between my gut and my animal instincts. I let my gut lose, while knowing that it was always right.
For months, I would wake up feeling shaky after having a dream that reminded me of what had happened. Each dream would fill me with regret, guilt and shame. It took several months before I felt like I had come to terms with what had happened. Yet sometimes those feelings still come back to me.
I had to learn the hard way, but I can give you some advice from my experience. So here are 3 steps to take if you find yourself raddled with regret:
1. Embrace your humanity.
I tell my mother everything and when I told her what happened, she consoled me. She reminded me of my humanity and that these things do happen. This was the first step in turning my feelings of regret into opportunities for growth.
2. Asking for forgiveness.
It takes a lot of guts to ask for forgiveness. We are not taught that it starts with ourselves. If you skip this critical step, you will stay stuck.
As a second step, you can ask anyone else involved for his or her forgiveness. It isn’t about giving you additional reasons to feel guilty or about asking for pity. This step will have you taking responsibility for your actions. Be the bigger person.
3. Accept and create.
I let go of trying to be perfect and took on being me. I accepted that I couldn’t change the past. I embarked on creating my future.
Regret, shame and guilt cannot survive when you embrace your humanity and share yourself with others. Holding on to things that you wish you could change prevents you from being free and from liberating others.
Turn regret into lessons learned by sticking to the facts and creating new commitments.
Turn shame into connection by sharing your story.
Turn guilt into owning who you are by taking responsibility.
Go out there and play big. Playing small doesn’t serve the world. Failing is a sign that you’re playing the game called life.
It is time to get back up.