I have things I‘ve done in the past that I would now do 100 times differently; decisions I’ve made, the way I’ve written or spoken about something, the way I’ve navigated a relationship, the way I’ve judged something, the way I’ve parented, the way I’ve shown up in conflict -- I could make an exhaustive list.
I have few regrets. I do have “frets.” Few regrets because I can turn just about anything into a gift and a productive lesson (anything), frets because there are some things that I will “fret” on, rework in my head, and even try to change the outcome of. Sometimes for years. It’s not a full-time job, it doesn’t wreck me, but these frets can be quietly present, draining precious mental and emotional energy (even when they’re unconscious), but especially when the situation comes into memory or impacts the present state. When they show up in my consciousness, I can go to the “Land of What If.” Know it?
This can be rough territory. Until we realize we’re there and do something to shift the terrain.
As they say hindsight is 20/20. True true (often, not always). My experience is that we know this, we do our best, and then when we have the “thing” in hindsight we either learn from it and let it go, or we fret. I have a belief that if I’m fretting about something, it means I haven’t finished my “work” or “healing” around it. So then the invitation becomes, instead of making “fretting” a bad thing, to nourish the fret, get curious, and see what else can be done NOW and moving forward.
This is a game changer.
Here’s how it goes for me and what I’ve noticed with those who’ve shared similar experiences.
- Notice the fretting: Where does it live in your body? What is the story that keeps being repeated?
- Thank It: It’s here for a reason, to teach, to shine light, to heal old wounds. Whatever the case, it’s not done with you yet and that’s not a bad thing.
- Get Curious: What is the reason it keeps coming up? Where do you need more support? Where are you still feeling really hurt, sad, angry, or ashamed about this thing? What is the learning you’ve missed in the past, or new learning now? What’s the gift? What do you need TODAY?
- Get Support: This may be talking it through with a friend, sister, brother, therapist, coach, advisor, or anyone who can hold responsible space for you, listen, and support.
- Get in Present Time: Your energy, presence, and state of being NOW. Land here. Take a big breath. And notice what’s here now. (Not 3 years ago or 2 minutes ago, NOW.) Your energy and awareness will likely have shifted through this process.
- Get New Wisdom: What can you learn from this now?
- Get Going: What can you do now (and moving forward) to grow from this, make it an integrated part of you that makes you even more whole and present, and use it in service of who you’re becoming and what you want to create?
The process may look something like the 7 points above, or completely different for you. You may do it alone, you may want support. (As always, please get the support you need.) It may take multiple visits of exploration to unpack what’s up. And sometimes, just the awareness may be enough to shift perspective and set us free. The goal here is not to fix anything, but rather to be aware of where we create our own internal churn (and unhappiness), where we need help, and what we can do now to move forward.