As we look towards a new year ahead, it’s easy to charge ahead with our goals, plans, resolutions and good intentions without looking at what just happened in 2017..
So what did happen in 2017?
Now before you respond with the commonly cited phrase ‘I have no regrets!’ hear me out here.
A common side effect of the positive thinking movement is sometimes a refusal to feel negative emotions, or to dwell on crappy experiences.
While I am all for the glass being half full and I am often known for being annoyingly (and sometimes dangerously) optimistic, I’m actually a big advocate for feeling your regret.
Do I have regrets from 2017? Hell yes! If I could go back, there’s things I would have done differently, behaviors I would change, choices that would look a different. And although I can’t change what happened, I can do my damn best to ensure I don’t repeat the same patterns.
How can I prevent myself repeating those mistakes if I don’t have a good hard look at what I did, why I did it, feel – and I mean really feel the regret of the things I wish I could change, and then, from that place start to make plans for the future.
In her book called Emotional Agility, psychologist Susan David talks about the importance of ‘negative’ emotions. She teaches that our negative emotions – like regret, for example, are sign posts to our core values. So, if you feel guilty that you didn’t spend enough time with your partner because you were working long hours, then have a good look at that feeling. The guilt is indicative that your relationship is important to you, and that perhaps things need to change.
We can make all of the good intentions and resolutions in the world, but if we bypass feeling – really feeling – why we want to change, then we’re less likely to change. To regret is to acknowledge our human-ness, our mistakes, our learning, our stuff ups.
Where to from there? Back up your intention with some solid research on how to make the changes, so the mistakes aren’t repeated. Some of the mistakes we make come from deep conditioning and years of bad habits. For some of us, no matter how much we want to change, it’s not going to happen if we don’t learn the skills needed to grow into a new version of ourselves.
- What are your regrets?
- What core value is that emotion a sign post for? (In other words, why do you regret it?)
- How does your life need to change to prevent a repeat of this? Or, what skills do you need to learn to upgrade yourself to prevent a repeat of this?
- And finally – what’s your intention for the future?
- I suggest you write your intention down, and visit it again – once a week perhaps – to keep yourself on track.
And if your new intention relates to relationships, you’re welcome to join us in the upcoming Tantra Relationships workshop. This is a profound weekend for both singles and couples, in which we learn how to upgrade the way we relate in order to experience a new level of depth and joy in both existing and future relationships.
See you there for either the free Friday evening or the full weekend workshop!