What to Do When You Are Overwhelmed With Regret

I woke up this morning heart sick. I made a mistake and couldn’t get over how badly I regretted it. We’ve all been there. Maybe you’re there now. You go through an experience, make a mistake, and deeply regret your actions. I am a deep thinker, a self-reflector, and diehard analyzer. This means after I’ve made a mistake I analyze every single detail about what just occurred. I focus on the details, the facts, the truths, and agonize over what I could have done differently. Even more, I beat myself up about it. You failed. So what? You can get over regret with some simple steps, and you’ll be so relieved you did.How to move on from your past and get over regretWhile self-reflection is great and leads you into a place of growth and learning, the problem lies when you let that self-reflection become an obsession. It’s really a miserable process that will only lead you to depression and feeling like a failure. By remembering these simple truths and focusing onf some self-improvement tasks, you will be a better person for it.How to move on from your past and get over regret

1. We all make mistakes.

As much as we don’t want to (especially if you’re a perfectionist like me) you are in fact human and the inevitable truth is that you will make mistakes. I’m not saying this as an excuse to repeatedly make mistakes or so you don’t take responsibility for your actions, however, you should be able to find relief in knowing that you are not a failure just because you’re human.How to move on from your past and get over regret

How to move on from your past and get over regret2. Stop looking behind.

Instead of focusing on the past, or the misery of regret, focus on what lies ahead. Take regret as an opportunity to build yourself back up, not beat yourself up. Yes, to be certain, no one likes making mistakes, but those mistakes do not define you, and if you allow it, they will make you stronger.

How to move on from your past and get over regret

How to move on from your past and get over regret3. Learn from your mistakes.

Use your experience to learn from it. Study the situation, recall the facts, figure out how to be a better version of yourself next time and MOVE ON.

Challenge yourself with the tough questions:

  • How can I use this as an opportunity to learn and grow?
  • What actions do I need to take now, so that I can hold myself accountable?
  • What can I do differently if faced with something similar again?

Think about what you can do to keep placing one foot in front of the other and move forward. Perhaps you need to have a conversation with someone or get an accountability partner, but whatever those steps are, take it with stride and a smile.

How to move on from your past and get over regret

How to move on from your past and get over regret4. Forgive yourself.

Moving on may be easier said than done, but you need to accept your mistakes for what they are and forgive yourself. Embrace your imperfections by reminding yourself they are an opportunity to grow. Have compassion on yourself through the process. Forgiveness may not always come so readily by others, but you can change how you feel about yourself. Accept that you are not always “right” and that you did the best you could at that time. Now that you see things differently, you can not only improve yourself but forgive yourself too. Forgiveness is key to being a healthier and happier you.

How to move on from your past and get over regret

5. Find hope that you will get a second chance.

I’m not saying you will get a do-over or can change the past (wouldn’t that be nice) but you will be presented with new opportunities to practice what you’ve learned. In those new experiences, you can use your past reflections to face the fear of failure head on and do it differently. Because of your courage to learn from your mistakes, you will be wiser the second time around and stronger because of how you chose to face it.

How to move on from your past and get over regret

Take it from me, an “expert” at making mistakes, you do not have to agonize over regret.

You are smart and strong and can handle trials with grace. The best thing you can do for yourself is to reflect, accept, forgive, and keep looking ahead for the opportunities to be the best possible version of yourself. You can get through this!

How to move on from your past and get over regret

Keep smiling!missMollyHeaderMINT

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Photo Credit //  Samantha Weissbach Photography

Molly Lawson

I’m Molly Lawson! I live in Seattle and am an optimist, adventurer, and bold lipstick wearer. I created this space to inspire and empower women with words of encouragement known as #MollysWords and share inspiration through my personal style. I always want my readers to leave with a smile and I hope you do!

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  1. Nataly Kimball
    November 4, 2016 / 7:44 am

    Great motivation! I love this look too! xo

  2. Ruthie Ridley
    November 4, 2016 / 7:55 am

    You have one of the most inspiring blogs on the planet!!! LOVE this look!! XO

  3. Amber Marie Werner
    November 4, 2016 / 8:04 am

    I love reading your posts! So inspiring. I am also very hard on myself when I make mistakes, so can definitely relate to this post. Umm I love that outfit too, so pretty!


  4. November 4, 2016 / 8:05 am

    Molly, you have so much ahead of you that is good and wonderful. So much happiness and you are where you are meant to be in this moment. Keep doing what you’re doing, don’t look back. You have a whole community behind you cheering you on!
    You got this!
    Happy Weekend:)


  5. Amanda Nicole Hughes
    November 4, 2016 / 8:28 am

    First, your tips are spot on. I love this post! Second, you look AMAZING as per usual. I love this outfit and how you styled it!

    xo, Amanda | http://www.thegoldengirldiary.com

  6. November 4, 2016 / 12:22 pm

    I love your raw and real posts! I’ve had my fair share of regrets over the years but by thinking of them as lessons learned there is nothing to truly regret 🙂

  7. November 4, 2016 / 2:41 pm

    I think that forgiveness is one of the best things in the world. Especially whenever we are able to forgive ourselves! I love this.

  8. November 4, 2016 / 3:14 pm

    Love you. Love your heart. Love your honesty and transparency! You are truly such a blessing. So needed to read this, as I have been dealing with shame. Shame that really isn’t in existence, but my mind is convincing me it is. I needed to read this today. Thank you, lovely!

  9. Lauren Jane
    November 5, 2016 / 6:01 am

    Wow this is amazing. I sit on the perfectionist side, with a bunch of “if I can’t do it perfect I’m going to sit here and cry” in there. You’re so right about the second chances. There are very few mistakes that you can’t come back from and learn from💙

  10. November 6, 2016 / 6:19 am

    Amen amen amen. Don’t beat yourself up – BUILD from it. Love this, and love you. Sending you a hug! (+ glass of wine!)

    Coming Up Roses

  11. Thomas Falkenstedt
    November 6, 2016 / 7:52 am

    My dear Molly, it’s been one of those days when I’ve been feeling down too and I needed this post so much to keep my spirits up. I’ve made mistakes and am a pro at that as you, but the hardest part (also the most important part) of the process is to forgive yourself. Only then can you move on. I most often think I’ve forgiven myself, but on certain days, I just like you, wake up with an heart ache. I’m so glad to have found you sweetie. I’m so glad you’re here.
    Much love,


  12. Taylor Smith
    November 6, 2016 / 7:58 pm

    Thanks for the inspiration, Molly!! I really appreciate how open and honest you are with everyone. We can all learn so much from you.

  13. November 8, 2016 / 10:54 am

    These tips are so great, and I love your outfit in this post!

  14. Mariann Yip
    November 14, 2016 / 9:19 am

    Thank you for sharing! It was extremely helpful 🙂 I also adore your outfit!


  15. Lindsey
    November 18, 2016 / 5:36 pm

    Absolutely love “Take regret as an opportunity to build yourself back up”- I’m going to click the Tweet button on that one!!

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