Does this ever happen to you?

There you are, going along with your day, minding your own business and it hits you. The whiny, super-annoying feeling that tells you that no matter what you did during your marriage, it just wasn’t good enough and you should have done better.

That emotion is called regret. And it’s destructive and annoying.

So, what can you do about it as a woman over 50 who is looking to move on with her life?

Here are some secrets you must know so you don’t get trapped in this emotion. They will help you move on with the rest of your life!

Regret Forces You to Stay in the Past

Your best years are ahead of you, and you don’t have time for dwelling on the past.

Moving on from your divorce hurt requires you to move forward. It requires you to take a long, hard look at yourself, the current obstacles you face, and what you can do to overcome them and get to where you want to be in life.

Focusing on that stuff is pretty inspiring. It puts the control back in your hands and propels you to keep going, learning to be grateful for what you have right now, in addition to looking forward to the future with excitement and confidence.

But regret doesn’t let you do those amazing things. Regret is like that nasty gum on your shoe, or that sticky substance that somebody unknowingly spilled, which got you stuck to the linoleum the moment you stepped in it.

That nasty stickiness is the thoughts you deal with. The ones that say:

“I wish I had known how my spouse was feeling before it was too late…”

“If only I could have convinced my ex to go to counseling…”

“I should have known what was going on behind my back…”

Those thoughts are regrets, and if you look long and hard at them, you will notice a pattern. They are all things that have occurred in the past.

Regret Forces You to Worry About Things You Cannot Control

It’s easier to sit and stew and worry about things you cannot change, believing that somehow thinking about them will actually make you feel better.

But it actually makes you feel worse because when you waste time and emotional energy on the “Coulda Woulda Shoulda” events of the past, you continue to be hard on yourself and judge yourself for things you cannot change.

Regret loves it when you continue to worry about things you cannot control. Because regret wants to keep you miserable, stuck in the past and unable to move on. Regret cannot function in an environment of positivity, action, forgiveness and mindfulness.

So the sooner you create that positive environment for yourself, the sooner regret will quit bothering you.

Escaping from The Prison of Regret

It’s easier than you think to escape regret!

The next time those regret thoughts hit you, do the following:

Pinpoint the regret

Thoughts of regret are easy to spot. They usually start with the following:

  • “I wish I would have done this…”
  • “If I had only done this action, then this other action would not have happened…”

Nip that regret thought in the bud

Regret is not helping you move forward, so put an end to those thoughts.

  • “I wish I would have done this…”

Stop. Remove “would” from your vocabulary. The fact that you did not do something is just a fact. It is not a judgement, and it is unfair to judge yourself on something you did not do in the past because you cannot change the past.

  • “If I had only done this action, then this other action would not have happened…”

Stop. You do not know if any certain action was guaranteed to happen. That goes back to not being able to change the past. The only thing you can control is what you think in the present and how you plan for the future.

Channel That Energy into Something You Can Control

Use your regret energy for things you can control, like where you are now, and what you want your future to look like. How are you going to kick regret in the butt?

  • I will not waste my time worrying or thinking about what I did and did not do in the past. Whenever I am triggered with these thoughts, I will replace them with a simple action I can take now to make my present good and my future even better.
  • When I start to think “Oh, I wish I would have done Action XYZ,” I will replace that thought with “Today, I am going to do ABC,” a positive and kind action that propels me forward, not dragging me back to the Prison of Regret.

It’s as easy as that! And the sooner you kick that regret to the curb, the easier it will be to get your confidence back, ready for this next amazing chapter of your life after 50.

What are the things that you regret about your marriage or relationship? What steps will you take to overcome that regret and move on? Please share your thought in the comments below.

Martha BodyfeltMartha Bodyfelt is a divorce coach, whose website “Surviving Your Split” helps readers navigate their divorce with less stress and drama, so they can move on with their lives. For your Free Divorce Warrior Survival Kit, stop by Surviving Your Split or drop Martha a line at martha@survivingyoursplit.com. You can also visit her on Facebook.

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