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How do you cope with guilt & regret?

(47 Posts)
Kandinsky Fri 16-Jul-21 08:30:16

I’m sure quite a few of us get to our age & look back wishing we’d done things differently.
But how do you cope with that guilt?
I’m not talking about little things like giving your children too many sweets, but really significant things that still cause you turmoil years later?
I know there’s no magic cure and we all have to live the life we created, but just wondering how others cope.

Lucca Fri 16-Jul-21 08:33:03

Oh goodness, I dont know !
A friend of mine is into Life Alignment and would advocate working through it to move on but I’m of the Scarlett o’hara persuasion and don’t want to think about it !

CafeAuLait Fri 16-Jul-21 08:36:42

You just need to remember that you did the best you could with what you knew at the time. Hindsight is perfect. We didn't have the benefit of that at the time we did or decided whatever we did. We are not mind readers. That helps me anyway.

Lucca Fri 16-Jul-21 08:37:35

Trouble is I didn’t do the best!

sodapop Fri 16-Jul-21 08:49:47

I didn't either Lucca and it troubles me. Can't change anything now though. We are fallible human beings and make mistakes I just hope I've done more good things than bad ones.

Gingster Fri 16-Jul-21 08:51:00

It’s hard but don’t dwell on it. We all try to do OUR best.
Get through life as best we can.

Galaxy Fri 16-Jul-21 08:52:51

I dont believe in perfect people. I try and think about what I would say to a friend who had made a mistake.

Redhead56 Fri 16-Jul-21 09:14:34

We all make mistakes and I don’t believe anyone is perfect. If I have not made the right decision or misjudged a situation in the past. I have mentally beat myself up with guilt but I know I have made up for it in love and kindness. It’s all you can do there is no crystal ball we can’t see what is ahead for us.

Mattsmum2 Fri 16-Jul-21 09:16:17

It’s a difficult ask sometimes. I regret putting my children through 3 failed marriages. I’ve spoken to them about it and they’ve said they don’t feel I’ve done anything wrong. They are both confident adults. I’ve made some errors of judgement that mean in later age I feel vulnerable when I should be having an easy life. It’s all about being kind to yourself x

CafeAuLait Fri 16-Jul-21 09:18:24

Lucca

Trouble is I didn’t do the best!

Then maybe it's part of learning and growing as a human being? None of us are perfect.

I also like the approach of what would I tell a friend or my child about the situation? Why doesn't that apply to me too? This works for me because I tend to be far harder on myself than anyone else.

Doodledog Fri 16-Jul-21 09:30:09

Lucca

Trouble is I didn’t do the best!

This is the problem, isn't it? I don't think it's helpful when people say 'we all did the best we could'. We are human and there will be times when we just didn't, and they are the actions (or inactions) that haunt us.

If anyone has the answer as to how to feel better about it, I'm all ears, but until then, I try to accept that there is nothing I can do about it now, and try not to do it again. One good thing that comes of regrets is that they should teach us not to be judgemental of others.

muffinthemoo Fri 16-Jul-21 09:35:47

Therapy

Sar53 Fri 16-Jul-21 09:47:55

I'm not sure you ever get over that feeling of guilt, but you learn to live with it.

You cannot change what happened in the past but you can strive to be a better person in the now and the future.

That's what I try and do.

Polarbear2 Fri 16-Jul-21 09:52:41

We were watching Monty Don in Japan last night. A creator of Japanese zen gardens said the secret is imperfection. If you create perfection there’s nowhere to go with it. No room to grow, flex and develop. Imperfection allows us to grow as people. Might not do it for you but I thought it was a lovely analogy.

Peasblossom Fri 16-Jul-21 09:58:11

Maybe we think we have failed people and beat ourselves up over it, when, in fact, it doesn’t look the same to them.

I was having a delayed guilt trip about my 40th birthday, years ago, when I was utterly selfish and went away for a week on my own. Just left my husband and three young children to get on with it. pleased myself.

Now I think how could I do that! I should have wanted to celebrate with them! What did they feel about my desertion?😱

My adult children don’t even remember it.😬

CafeAuLait Fri 16-Jul-21 10:10:33

It's situational, I guess. Sometimes we really did do our best. If we didn't then we have to find a way to make peace with that or accept that we regret something and always will. Is there anyone that doesn't have any regrets? I think we all do.

CafeAuLait Fri 16-Jul-21 10:22:22

Doodledog

Lucca

Trouble is I didn’t do the best!

This is the problem, isn't it? I don't think it's helpful when people say 'we all did the best we could'. We are human and there will be times when we just didn't, and they are the actions (or inactions) that haunt us.

If anyone has the answer as to how to feel better about it, I'm all ears, but until then, I try to accept that there is nothing I can do about it now, and try not to do it again. One good thing that comes of regrets is that they should teach us not to be judgemental of others.

"I don't think it's helpful when people say 'we all did the best we could'."

It's exceptionally helpful when I lose sight of the fact I did the best I could in my situation. Just what I need to hear and be reminded of at times.

henetha Fri 16-Jul-21 10:32:50

We have all done things we regret, some minor and some major. I certainly have. At some point we have to forgive ourselves and move on. Put it in a box and throw away the key, in our head. Talking to someone you trust might help.

Shandy57 Fri 16-Jul-21 10:39:14

I had counselling when my husband died, and the counsellor helped me to identify my 'appropriate guilt' which I mentally parcelled up, never to be opened again. I forgave myself and it helped me to move on.

JaneJudge Fri 16-Jul-21 10:42:54

Isn't it about perspective though? as long as it's not really bad, do you really need to feel guilty years later?

Also if you recognise your faults, isn't that a good thing? Recognise you've made mistakes but acknowledge it and move on?

JaneJudge Fri 16-Jul-21 10:45:01

Shandy57

I had counselling when my husband died, and the counsellor helped me to identify my 'appropriate guilt' which I mentally parcelled up, never to be opened again. I forgave myself and it helped me to move on.

yes, I think talking therapies/psychodynamic psychotherapy is very good at dealing with this. It helps you accept you can't change things too, which I found really helpful but on the other hand it also helped me deal with situations I felt difficult in a positive way.

jenpax Fri 16-Jul-21 11:18:22

Nobody sets out to make mistakes and everyone only has what they have at the time to work with!
I am painfully aware that my 3 AC grew up in poverty and that despite my 100% best efforts I was unable to hide the poverty from school friends and neighbours which mortified and embarrassed them and has led to them all having issues about it as adults! I know that at the time I was in an impossible situation and that every penny was used wisely yet my guilt is still awful! I try to put it from my mind as much as I can and focus on how they have all turned out well with good jobs and degrees and not think too much about what might have been

Katie59 Fri 16-Jul-21 11:25:13

I have a few regrets, nothing major, I console myself that I’ve done better than most, had a full career, raised 4 sons. Definitely been sinned against quite a lot, so on balance I’m on the right side I’m content with that.

Caleo Fri 16-Jul-21 11:31:25

I agree with CafeAuLait in all her messages about what I call guilt, shame, and remorse.

However it is helpful that a friend gave me a reason for my despised behaviour that I had not thought of. Not an excuse, just a reason.

3nanny6 Fri 16-Jul-21 11:37:24

I have a few regrets and like most I have made a few mistakes.
If given a certain situation at a time I have always done what I thought best at that time and usually I know I made the correct decisions. These days I will work through things and move my life on and not dwell on past times/situations where nothing can be changed.