Regrets. We’ve had a few. Maybe you’re nursing one or two right now as you read this.
Regretting something is a totally ‘normal’ and natural part of being human. It’s part of our conscious evolution, to be able to reflect upon and reassess the things we’ve done and said in the past, the trick is, to glean the gift within such experiences and find it in our hearts to forgive ourselves for doing the best that we could at the time, with the level of consciousness that we had (at that time and in that particular situation). So here’s my take on regret and how to clear it.
I guess the most common form of regret connects to our personal relationships. Everyone can connect with being heart-broken or by the same token, breaking someone else’s heart, because these things always go hand in hand. One person does the breaking up whilst the other one receives the break. In some instances of course, 'conscious uncoupling" takes place and this is obviously the most loving way to end any connection; but it's not a place where the majority of people are at just yet. It takes a lot of personal strength, unwavering integrity and a deep willingness to strip oneself bare of all associated pain, romantic attachment and identification with the 'other', in order to view the situation as 'complete' and 'divinely resolved', let alone to be able to fully surrender to where life is directing your now 'separate ways', to go.
Either way, whichever ‘side’ of the break-up you are on, it’s never easy, or ‘clean’, when a love connection comes to an end, for whatever reason, because we humans are programmed after all, to hold on, not give up and to forge ahead in pretense that "we're fine and it's all for the best", when in truth, often the best thing to do, is surrender, trust and let go.
And this is what regret threads into, in a big way. Acceptance.
First of all, it’s important to feel your feelings, regardless of what you have been taught either at home, at school or learned through your earliest experiences with the opposite (and/or same) sex. Regardless of what you've learned through your interactions with people in general actually, because sexual relationships are only a small part of our world and I don’t wish to box us in by referencing only to this aspect of our lives. But for the intents and purposes of this piece, I will be explaining the energy of regret through the lens of intimate connections.
Not everyone is comfortable feeling their feelings. Not everyone learned from a young age, that speaking about their emotions, was and is, a healthy and necessary thing to do, to help maintain mental, emotional and physical balance; as well as authenticity and integrity. Many people grew up being told that speaking up was dangerous, not welcomed and in extreme cases, could actually cost them their lives. If this is you and your voice has been thwarted from birth or early youth, you are definitely going to be carrying some heavy wounds and scars on several levels and I would strongly encourage you to seek some professional help if you haven't already. Whilst this article is not enough support in that way and is not promising to be such, I do hope it can offer you some reprieve and insight into yourself and your life so you can soften some edges and find a bit more peace for the reading of it.
So. Energetically, here’s what (I have been shown) regret is all about. Understand that I have been practicing yogic and shamanic therapies for over 20 years, but I am not professing to be a counselor or psychologist. I offer my own perspectives and wisdom on the subject with love and compassion in the hope it can ease your suffering and help you heal whatever needs to be healed and with all that is going on in 2020, it’s certainly high time for healing.
The energy of regret will stagnate in the heart when we don’t (or can’t do) the following:
1. Honor our feels (rather than ignore them)
2. Listen to ourselves, our gut/intuition (and instead, deny what we are telling ourselves)
3. Express ourselves (in a safe space, with love and without fear)
4. Forgive ourselves (for not knowing or doing better at the time)
5. Resolve the energetic imprint, the wounding/grief/story (and instead embed it further).
If we fail to stop and acknowledge what we are feeling and experiencing – and ideally, as close to the time of the ‘incident’ as possible also, not leaving it till months or even years later – the energy of regret will morph into resentment and bitterness as the heart accumulates negativity, toxic thoughts and personal beliefs (that we carried previously but weren’t serving us even then). We literally armor up around the heart both physiologically (in the tissue of the pericardium) and energetically (in our aura and heart/thymus chakra). All of these vibrations magnify in our luminous energy field (aura) because they are not acknowledged and healed and over more time, this can turn into anger (with yourself and the other/s) and even self abuse/self sabotage because you haven’t cleared the experience and the repercussive energies, within yourself. In extreme cases, regret can mutate into revenge and even be the thing that tips an already unstable personality, into narcissism and hatred for example.
In your wounded head and heart), you want to hurt others as you have been hurt because you can’t admit or face that you are still hurting. Your pain becomes “their fault”, therefore perpetuating the blame-shame-guilt cycle that I’m sure you are familiar with.
So how do we get off this toxic not-so-merry-go-round of self abuse and victim-hood?
In my experience, we do this by remembering that nothing in this world happens by coincidence or accident and that every single relationship we ever have, primarily teaches us about ourselves, first and foremost. When we view life through this filter, we can start realizing that we are actually not victims of circumstance but rather, we are co-creators with life and therefore, we have the power to shift whatever presents in every now moment, if we so choose.
Now I am not saying this is easy, it’s possibly the hardest thing any of us will ever attempt, but it is a necessary stage of our spiritual evolution and mastering this practice, this stage of our human development, is exactly what allows us to progress from ‘spiritual adolesence’ to ‘spiritual adulthood’. Let me explain.
When we are teens, we are controlled by our hormones to a high degree and hence, our emotions run rampant and often off the charts. We literally cannot control the surges sometimes, especially if there is a physiological, chemical imbalance present as well that adds further ‘spice’ to the magical mix of who we are. This tendency to lash out, act out, talk back and basically disobey and challenge the system just for the sake of it (that is, our parents, society and authority in various forms), is part of the learning curve we must all experience, so we often say and do things to deliberately hurt another in the heat of the moment. Often we plan how we’re going to bring harm and misfortune to another as well; pre-meditation energy being a very powerful and seductive ‘drug’ to the un-evolved mind and heart. It’s a vibration that is very dark and unconscious and yet, it’s there, part of human nature and there for us to encounter, engage with and (hopefully, eventually) rise above.
In those moments when you have intentionally harmed another – with your thoughts, but especially your words or actions – it's important to understand that you have done so from a lower vibration, in that moment. This is because you have not yet mastered the ability to discern what is right and wrong, what is appropriate (and when) and what the full consequences of your actions (or thoughts/words) actually are. Energetically speaking, this is because you have not grown through the aspect of your heart that teaches (and reminds) you that every person on this planet, is unified as one. Inter-connected and inter-dependent.
Essentially, you haven’t remembered that when you hurt someone else, all you are doing, is hurting yourself.
Learning from our ‘mistakes’, is part of our journey, in fact, I don’t even call them ‘mistakes’ anymore, I call them "lessons in presence", because we are all on the same trajectory (in our own ways) and the universe is offering us all the exact some amount of opportunities to wake up, pay attention and make new and more loving choices that serve our highest and best in each moment. Some of us just need a few extra nudges!
It’s also important to remember that along with the “there are no coincidences and accidents” clause, that as divine spirits moving around on earth in these clumsy human suits, we are each responsible for our own choices, experiences and soul journeys. We are constantly collaborating and co-creating with one another and therefore, responsible for ourselves, for our contribution, even in the most horrendous and traumatic of eventualities. As hard as that is to hear, read and swallow, it is Universal Truth.
No matter how compassionate, giving and supportive we are (and wish to be), how one person interprets a shared situation/experience, is their business, their response-ability, not ours. It is not up to us to ‘fix’ them nor carry their burden (or the full burden) for both.
Now this does not mean (nor is intended to insinuate) that you don’t care or are cold-hearted because you refuse to take on their suffering and make it all better for them. That belief is actually a huge lingering wound in our collective consciousness, one that I call an ‘energetic hangover’ from the past. It is what makes us feel obliged and indebted and it paves the way for our ego to come in waving a magic wand and thinking that ‘it’ is doing all the healing, when of course, it is not. This energy threads back into our past contracts where we as healers (which we all are by the way, in some form), were pressured to resolve everyone else’s issues, because we had these particular healing abilities and gifts. Over time, we learned (often unconsciously) that because we had a certain way with energy that seemed to help others ‘heal’, that it was our sole (and soul) responsibility to do so whenever it was requested or required, however, this only served to manifest an embedded pattern of obligation in our psyche, as well as a ‘savior-complex’, because ultimately, the only person or being that can heal anyone else, is God! We are merely the conduits (albeit with some cool skills at our disposal).
So how do we resolve our lingering regrets and set ourselves free from the past? I believe, by practicing these simple things as often as we can.
1. Identify the wound/the reason you are carrying, that is connected to the situation or other person. For example, if they betrayed you and you retaliated to hurt them back.
2. Separate the physical/emotional/mental pain you are feeling, from the reason for the pain, meaning, why does their betrayal hurt you so much and why did they betray you? What nerve does it press? What are some of the underlying problems in your relationship that led to the betrayal? Is there something that you (and they) are not admitting to yourself and/or one another, about your relationship?
3. Identify where the ‘lack’ is between you and why it is there/how it ‘got’ there. How it got to the point where one of you chose to betray the other. For example, were you (or them) enabling bad behavior; was there over-giving/over-compensating/over-compromising; were you ‘settling’; was there slack or no communication beforehand; were you living in self denial because you just didn’t want to be alone? Was there an energetic and/or literal 'power' imbalance?
4. Admit whatever it is that resonates in the above point (and more things of course, whatever comes up for you) and whether, or rather how, your emotions were driven by your own failure to put yourself and your needs first, speak your truth or let someone into your heart. This is huge to admit to ourselves because it means we have to recognize any and all wounds that we are unconsciously carrying forwards from the past and into our current situation/relationship.
Our regrets from the past will accumulate into our present, if we let them.
5. Once you’ve done this, ask yourself what stopped you from trusting? Why did you ignore ‘the signs’? Why didn’t you want to be alone? Why were you ‘happy’ to pretend all was well when your heart and gut told you the opposite? When you identify your own part in the situation and your own wounded aspects of self, you can start to forgive yourself for not loving yourself enough to meet your own needs. You start to remember that nobody else can meet your needs, that only you can, and when you do that, you can then teach someone else how to meet them. You can show someone else how to love you as you know you deserve.
We say and hear this all the time but we neglect to really get it. We must learn to love ourselves first before we can be in a fulfilling, equal, unconditionally loving relationship with another.
Self mastery comes with age, with wisdom and with wrinkles!
As we mature, we learn to identify, understand and accept our patterns, our vulnerabilities, our re-activities, our flaws and our fabulousness and we call in experiences to help us grow and set ourselves free form these lower vibrations, thoughts and expressions. We learn how to transform our "limitations into our liberation", or as I always say, “to transform our wounding into our medicine”.
When we experience the frequency that is regret, we can use it as a reminder to be more mindful, more present, more honest, more discerning and more compassionate in the future.
We can transform regret into gratitude because the regret has taught us who we want to be, and that is, someone who honors themselves and others equally, in every life circumstance and who chooses to practice unconditional love, with themselves and others at all times.
Regret, guilt, shame and blame all stem from the same negative (unconscious, dense) core sacral and base plexus channels that invite us to explore and then transcend, our inherited beliefs and programs about self worth, self respect and self love; because they teach us to “treat others as we wish to be treated”.
Yes, I believe regret is a master teacher. You just need to allow it to be that which it is.
Embrace beginner’s mind to your next level by practicing acceptance, forgiveness and surrender and learning – on repeat!
Don't LIVE with regret. LOVE it.