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How do you forgive yourself for missed opportunities

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VVV
Posted (edited)

I tend to really beat myself up on missed opportunities. I saw something for a really low price in March which has now sky rocketed and I chose not to buy it. First world problem I know but had I done it I could have really changed our lives. I also feel annoyed at myself for things like not getting better grades in school and going down a better career path etc and that I had so many opportunities that I just squandered. I know there’s a lot of things to be thankful for but I tend to focus on the things I didn’t do. Can anyone relate?

Edited by VVV
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seayork2002
Posted (edited)

I just dont regret the things I don't do i just take it as different choices like a 'choose your own adventure' book

I can't possibly make all choices at once on life like I make different choices sometimes as I have a child so I will need to make some choices that I can't make if I didn't have a child.

Does not make one choice better or worse just different 

Edited by seayork2002
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Freddie'sMum

I do this too OP.  Then I try and remember that I made the best choice / decision at the time with the knowledge / resources I had avilable.  Then I sing the Billy Joel song "we are only human, we are supposed to make mistakes" to cheer myself up !

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Silverstreak

Hindsight is 20/20 as they say!

I have learned to cut myself slack. Nobody is perfect, so why should I have to be? My mistakes are part of my learning process, assuming I am learning from them, which I sometimes do. 

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-Emissary-

I’m sure anyone who could have but didn’t buy a property in Sydney 10 years ago could probably relate..

I have a tendency to try and grab the opportunity as they come but I’m fairly conservative. I wish I would just take the plunge and invest in shares...I’ll probably regret it in retirement. 

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Gudrun

Well yeah but I know living on regrets ain't good for you and also each time you have a choice you make one.  What else can you do, you're only one person.   Works for me.  It's about risk taking too.  There's making your own luck (being willing to; no right or wrong) and just luck.   It's a personality thing too rather than choices being intrinsically better.

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Just Another Cat

I do this too OP. I’m finding it particularly bad at the moment. Maybe because I have more time to ponder, I don’t know.

I heard a quote once, something like you can’t see what’s in front of you if you’re looking backwards. I just try and focus on that. But it’s hard sometimes. 

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TheGreenSheep

I do this too reflecting on things we didn’t do or buy. Every house we didn’t have the guts to buy. Shares we should’ve bought. Car we should’ve sold before it cost us a small fortune to keep running. The mess of hoarded things we should sell but DH won’t part with. It’s worst when I’m anxious. 

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CallMeFeral

I think PP is right, it's something that anxiety can exacerbate. 

As an overall trait, it's something DH seems to struggle a lot with. He's one of those people who is always full of good ideas and has zero execution (ADHD), so as a result he's accumulated quite a number of things over his life that he regrets doing/not doing. The most recent one would have paid off our new house build for us, and he didn't do it due to some shonky advice from overconfident friends, and he's taken ages to get over it (and taken a lot of that out on me). 

Interestingly I'm also a very anxious person, but my mind doesn't tend to go that way nearly as much. I mean there's a lot I regret not acting on - I think as you get older and property prices rise, that's inevitable. It makes me sad when I think about it. But as a result, I don't think of it much, it's gone, it's not changeable, it was a mistake, people make mistakes, I wish I hadn't but none of us are superhuman. I guess perhaps that might be some sort of self compassion. 

I'm sure there are some things big enough that I would ruminate on them too. But so far most things I've been able to go "well that's a bugger but it is what it is". 

I wonder if it's something to do with our expectations about the world, like we should be able to control it, we should be able to forsee things, there is a 'right' way, mistakes are bad - all those are probably beliefs that make those sort of mistakes more upsetting, and we go back over them in our mind to try to rewrite history. And of course anxiety just breeds rumination so in this crazy time it's probably worse for everyone. 

If you want to do something about it, I think it's in that self compassion type area. Acknowledging that everyone makes mistakes, nobody can predict the future, and having some compassion for yourself for the feeling of having missed out or made a decision that didn't turn out for the best. Plus just catching that "I should have known" story when it starts buzzing around your head, and choosing to do something else rather than retell it. Like anything, habits can change with work. 

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Prancer is coming

I think a lot of the time in balances out.  I might find a good bargain, win a competition or have something lucky happen some times, but then others get ripped off, have to pay more for an item, lose something or just have bad luck.

 

I also think there is a reason behind not doing something.  So when you said you are beating yourself up for not buying something, I imagine there was a reason you did not buy at that time.  The situation may well have gone the other way and you would have been relieved you did not buy it.

 

i do think some people are very big on things happen for a reason.  Where I suppose if you have a glass half empty mentality, it is easy to catastrophise what happened and see it as a reflection of you not being a good judge.

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Jenflea

I made a decision years ago to not regret anything in my life. Or do my best not to anyway!

Every choice I made has brought me to where I am, and I can't go back and change anything anyway, so there's not much point in thinking about the "what ifs". It is what it is.  

Maybe I'm too fatalistic? 

 

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can'tstayaway

By learning from past mistakes and trying not to repeat them. 

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tothebeach

I’m an optimiser by nature - which means that I always want to make the best choice or get the most out of something.   I don’t go with the flow.   I analyse and multi-task and generally am an all round machine of productivity.   But I have given myself grace - there are no wrong choices.  There is just the good choice based on the information that you have.  As that information changes, you make another good  choice which reverse a previous choice - it doesn’t mean that you made the wrong choice before.  
There is always a chance for a new choice.   

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No Drama Please

I try to look for the positives of not making the choice you did to balance things out.

So you mightn’t had made a career choice that was more challenging, but that might mean you have a job now that is less stressful and provides more work life balance.

Or you mightn’t have brought a house that would have made you a millionaire, but then you would have felt tied to it, so you wouldn’t have been encouraged to move to different places and have other experiences.

I don’t know if it’s even looking for the positive side or just accepting every decision has potential good and bad outcomes. So it’s fine to make a choice and be disappointed with the outcome, as long as it doesn’t stop you enjoying what you do have right now.

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Sancti-claws

Oh lord, when I am down on myself I can bring up wearing the wrong clothing to school in Year 2, or that time that I bought a chess set for $200 at a fundraiser - but generally when my mind is in a decent place I just have to remind myself that the only decisions of import to affect my life from herein are the ones that happen herein - you cannot change the past and regret is a waste of energy.

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Ernegirl
Posted (edited)

I recall the Nelson Mandela quote attributed by  Bill Clinton, when he asked him how he could forgive his persecutors. "I wanted to be free, so I let it go." 

Edited to say that's more about forgiveness to others, but it also works for regrets and self-forgiveness.

Edited by Ernegirl
Afterthought
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DQMission
5 hours ago, Sancti-claws said:

Oh lord, when I am down on myself I can bring up wearing the wrong clothing to school in Year 2, or that time that I bought a chess set for $200 at a fundraiser - but generally when my mind is in a decent place I just have to remind myself that the only decisions of import to affect my life from herein are the ones that happen herein - you cannot change the past and regret is a waste of energy.

Yep, sorry Caroline Ramsay in grade 2 for not responding kindly when you gave me a gift! Lol

Having had to live with some life changing decisions that I regret, I try not to get too caught up in those mistakes as I don’t want to give them more of my time an energy than I already have. Much harder to do when you might be feeling a bit low or suffering from a crisis of confidence. 

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MadMarchMasterchef

I try to remember that if I had made better financial choices I may never have run into DH and have my kids 👍

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Lalala4

Yes, I’m another who can feel sad about not taking a financial risk when we should have. Eventually I told myself ‘well you’ll NEVER make that mistake again. Next time you’ll recognise it. Next time, I will take the risk.’

Having a sort of plan like that has helped me stop being chewed up by the regret, even though there may never be another opportunity like that.

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purpleblaze

There is a James Clear quote that goes something like forgive your past self, be strict with your present self and be flexible with your future self.  Not sure it helps but I liked it.

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TigerQueenofSheeba

I'm giving a disclaimer up front - I can be a little blunt and black and white in this topic. 

I don't see the point in regret. It won't change or fix anything. What has happened, has happened. 

I choose to look at why certain things have happened and where choices have lead me. Sure, I've had plenty of sh*tty things happen to me. I come from an abusive family / childhood. I've been through many hardships. But I also see that everything that has happened in my life has lead me to where I am now. Would I change that? Not for the world! 

I choose to see all my hardships as stepping stones. If I didn't go through an abusive childhood and everything that followed, I may not be as strong as I am today. Every decision I have made (or has been made for me) has led me to this point.

This has been a choice for me though. I can't spend my life in a negative spin as it doesn't serve my kids or myself. 

I have a tendency to think a lot in the shower. Sometimes I think of things that aren't great - I have taught myself to give myself a couple of minutes to have those thoughts and then move on to something else. It's not an easy thing to learn, but once you do, it's much easier to control your thoughts.  

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DQMission

TQoS, I think regretting hardships that happened to you is a different beast to regretting your own decisions or actions that were mistakes and may have caused harm of some kind. Like you, I have been through a fair bit, but on the whole it got me where I am and I figure it is what it is. 

When it comes to regret of your own actions it just isnt as simple as that. I think it is usually a combination of things that create this mindset in a person and it just isnt as easy as choosing not to regret things or think about them. In fact I think it is a reasonable suggestion to say that some people who have a lot of regret are highly empathetic and insightful and they can comprehend very well how their actions may have had a negative impact on others and that can be very hard to sit with. This can be especially difficult if you have been brought up to believe your value only exists in what you do for others. I think for some people who are blunt (not saying you, this is a generalisation) and who dont really think about their mistakes, it might come from being either unable or unwilling to really consider the impact of their mistakes. I know when I am under a great deal of stress and have reduced executive functioning I am less open to considering how other people feel. 

 

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lozoodle

I try to stop dwelling, what's done is done and when I am focusing on what might have been, I sometimes miss out on new opportunities right in front of me because I am not paying attention!

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MadMarchMasterchef

Also it may help to frame it that nearly everyone would have made a financial / life decision that we regret at some point.  We are all human! 

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Pearson

Try not to play the what if game too much. Sliding Doors was a work of fiction.  I have played that game a lot, especially in the last 5 years. What if hubby had not had his accident, and all that goes with it, to the recent what if I get covid? Who is going to look after him and our daughter? Once it got to that, I knew I had to stop. What's done is done, it was meant to be.

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