“It’s not joy that makes us grateful, its gratitude that makes us joyful.”

Ever have regrets? Carry them around with you all the time? But, what about the value of your regrets?

Value of regret?

 If you are like most of us, regrets usually lead us toward a foul mood. They make us feel like a failure, and it is hard to take our minds off of the negative circumstances and events that we now regret. Regret tends to make us focus on ourselves and becomes self-condemning, that feeling of being a failure. When we focus on our performance, it is easier for us to look for ways to improve our performance over time. We take that pesky self-talk and “take thoughts captive.” Those thoughts that limit our beliefs about what we can achieve and what we are capable of accomplishing.

“Regret is a powerful indicator of future opportunity.” –Michael Hyatt

The Value of Regret:

  • An opportunity to grow personally– Looking back and seeing mistakes can help us look for new ways to handle similar situations and grow in personal character.
  • Motivation to achieve– Many high-performance people use their past failures to find the next step that creates momentum for careers, parenting, relationships, creating, and inventing. For example, entrepreneurs use past disappointments to encourage the next big discovery.
  • Better future judgment– We can certainly learn from our mistakes and use regret to become more wise and discerning for the days ahead.
  • Become more grateful– Growing in personal character, using the disappointments of the past to achieve, and making better decisions for the future can lead us to more appreciation and gratefulness in our lives.

As it happens, most research shows we have about three times as many positive as negative experiences. And yet we tend toward a negative bias. We remember and focus more on negative experiences. This is one of the reasons regret can stifle us and keep us moving backward and feeling like a failure. Why do we focus on the regrets and negative experiences?

Many would say it is because we have not created a culture of appreciation and gratitude in our lives. There has not been a determined decision to scan our world for what is going good or right and make a habit-of-mind for gratitude in our lives. According to Brene’ Brown, if there is gratitude, joy follows, and being joyful comes from an active practice of gratitude. (Joy is a feeling of goodness deep down in your soul; a “fruit of the Spirit.”)

What about Gratitude?

  • Gratitude needs to be PRACTICED, and it needs to be practiced daily!
  • Keeping a daily gratitude journal helps us create more positivity in our lives.
  • Meditation and prayer are great gratitude tools.
  • Gratitude needs to be EXPRESSED, share your gratitude with others, and for others.
  • Gratitude improves our connection with others.
  • It improves our mental and physical health.
  • It makes us happier.

So, focusing on regrets does nothing for our emotional or physical state. But it can have great value and benefits for living more grateful and happy lives if we will just let it. Use it to grow personally, to activate your creativity, and to become a more grateful, healthy person. Let us know how you have turned regret into value in your life.

Share with us in the comment box below what your practice of gratitude has done for you.