Sometimes we wish we were able to undo some of our decisions in life. Life would be so much better without them. Don’t you think?
But then we realize that we can’t go back in time. We have to live with whatever we chose in the past.
That makes us sad, sometimes feel guilty and for some, it starts a vicious cycle of loathing in past mistakes and why that sets their now and future in stone.
That one failed math test in 7th grade set my route to being broke now, 30 years later…
This is one of those thought patterns.
When I write it in a sentence like that, it clearly looks stupid. Indeed, it is. Unfortunately, many of us follow those thoughts and it is doing more harm than the bad decision itself.
Whatever the bad decision is, once we acted on it, it is part of the past. We can’t change the decision anymore.
However, what we can change is the effects of the decision. Of course, it depends on the type and how massive the impact was. And how often we made the same decisions.
The effects are different for overspending 1000$ vs. cheating on your significant other vs. breaking some guy’s nose at a bar.
Some consequences last longer than others. Although you can’t undo the past, you can change how you deal with the effects in the present.
The ideal thing you can do is accepting it, honestly being sorry for it, and communicating that, trying to fix it, but not fretting or feeling guilty for it endlessly.
It happened, learn from it, try to fix it, move on, and don’t repeat it.
It’s part of you now, but it does not necessarily determine your now or your future. Dwelling in guilt or regret does only harm you further.
If we start to regret those decisions, we enter the vicious cycle of regret and guilt.
In the beginning, you can still get easily out of it, but once you are in the cycle it’s like getting off in the middle of a huge waterslide… hard, but not impossible.
It’s like with many negative things in life. Easier to get off in the beginning, extreme harder in later stages.
One of the worst things you can do is making the same bad decisions again.
For example, drinking too much once is not bad. We might regret it, have a little hangover and the effects are vanishing fast. Maybe we did do some stupid stuff too.
When I repeat that drinking decision the effects are accumulating. But not in a 1+1 way. Nope, those effects have exponential growth (Wikipedia). It’s these diagrams, which start small on the left side, and then before you realize it, the curve skyrockets.
That one-time drinking became a weekly habit, then twice a week and before you realize it, you became an alcoholic. Not counting all the lost time of the hangovers.
And along that path, more and more bad decisions join.
Fortunately, that is no life sentence, you still can get ut of it. By changing the present.
See, what you do now shapes your future path. Stay here so you can make better decisions.
We can’t undo the past. Once we acted on our decisions, it is done. Set in time.
What we can change are the effects. We can mitigate them or even nullify them. Of course, that depends on the type of decision and the effects.
Try to fix your mistakes, be sorry, learn from it, move on and don’t repeat it. Never ever start with the guilt or regret thoughts. Get off them asap.