Don’t Let Regret And Worry Hijack Your Life

You cannot live in the present if you let yourself get caught up in regretting the past or if you are constantly worrying about the future.

Many years ago, I faced the question of what was my purpose here in this lifetime. Reading the Celestine Prophecy, I had gained the insight that “my question” was actually a combination of each of my parent’s different life challenges. I had one parent who could not live in the present and only lived in the past while the other parent cared nothing of the present or past but only focused on the future. Once I was able to see that clearly, I figured out that “my question” was, “How do I live in the present?”

When it comes to things that steal our lives away from the present moment, there are no two things that do more damage and take away more than living in regret of the past or worrying and living in fear of the future. Both are equally wastes of precious time and energy.

When you live in regret and are always looking backwards, it is impossible for you to see what is right in front of you – right now. It is bad enough if you live in the past and your internal dialogue is that of “I should of,” or “I could of.” At least in that mode of thinking you are focusing on what you could have done to make things different. What is worse is if you look at the past with regret and focus on what other people might have done that had an impact… That victim mentality will get you nowhere fast.

Even if you don’t sit around and wallow in the regrets of the past, maybe you just prefer the past to be your life’s focus. This is especially true if you believe that all of your best days are behind you and there is nothing left to look forward to in life. If this is the case, it clearly indicates your rejection of the present and the way things are right now. Let’s face it… if you constantly live in the past you don’t have to deal with today.

It is good to have goals and a vision for your life, but to rob yourself of the present day by constantly worrying about the future can be just as harmful as regret and living in the past. As I wrote yesterday in 5 Ways To Keep The Faith On Your Path, “Worrying is like praying for what you don’t want to have happen.” Not only does worrying take your attention from the present but it also invites that which are worried about to become an actual part of your reality. Worrying is a component of fear and nothing good EVER comes from living a life of fear.

Just like living the past, worrying can also be used as an escape mechanism to avoid what is happening in your present moment. How can you possibly be concerned about anything happening now when you all of these bigger future-things to worry about? Worrying takes you away from what is by focusing intensely on what might be.

Regret and worry are the two opposite edges of the same sword that cuts you off from your present life. As Eckhart Tolle said, “Nothing happens in the past just as nothing happens in the future. Everything that happens happens in the now.”

The way in which you live your life is up to you. The choices are yours… and you have three of them:

  1. Do you want to live a life consumed by regretting the past, which you have no ability to change anyway?
  2. Do you want to live a life in constant worry and fear about the future, concerned about things that may or may not happen?
  3. Do you want to live in the present and enjoy each moment just as it is?

I will choose option three every time and I refuse to allow regret and worry to control my life while robbing me of it at the same time. How about you? Which option will you choose?

Andy Wooten M.A. Counseling – Certified Life Coach – Aspen, Colorado

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