This week’s inspirational quote in my Passion Planner is from Oscar Wilde: “What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.”
One of the most difficult emotions to experience, I believe, is regret. Whether it’s feeling like you’ve wasted time, didn’t try hard enough, weren’t good enough, etc… regret is a hard thing to shake, and it feeds anxiety.
Say you work for a promotion, don’t get it, and regret not choosing different tactics that may have gotten you there. This will feed into your anxiety surrounding a promotion next time the opportunity arises.
So how do we get rid of regret?
We can’t – but we can learn to recognize what makes us feel it, and find healthy coping mechanisms.
The things that you tell yourself play a big part in your emotions. If you slip and fall, and internally say, “Damn, you’re so clumsy,” you are negatively impacting yourself. If you slip and fall, and internally say, “Shit happens, get back up,” you’re acknowledging the fall, but not placing blame on yourself or emitting any negative energy.
If you feel like you’ve wasted time in your life, try to focus on a different aspect of the experience. For example, I often feel that joining a sorority in college was a waste of time and money, because I didn’t make any deep or lasting friendships from being a part of it. I did however, receive my current job through a sorority sister. We may not be close, but she is the reason that I have been employed with the company I currently work for since last April – a company that graciously allowed me to leave for 4 months to do the Disney College Program and then come right back and work full time.
Even though I don’t like my job and am beyond grateful to have found a new one that I’ll be starting in a week, I am grateful to have had the steady paycheck for these past few months, and have worked in a positive office environment with wonderful people. I may not have had this experience had I not endured three years of trying and failing to enjoy college make connections in my sorority.
It’s also important to remember that you have to take care of yourself. So what if you spent more time watching tv last night than working on a project for school? Did you enjoy the tv show or movie? Were you relaxed? Did it make you feel better after a stressful day? So long as your project still gets done on time, it’s okay to take time for yourself and do something that you enjoy – you should plan time to do something you love every day. I think this is just as important if not more important than work.
This is not to imply that finding your blessings in disguise is going to be easy – sometimes you won’t be able to identify something good that came out of a negative experience until years after the fact. But maybe knowing this can help – no matter how tiny the help seems.
I love to tell stories. I’ve had a lot of heartbreak from both friendships and romantic relationships and from what I consider to be an overall terrible college experience, but I have a lot of stories, and I usually enjoy telling them.
Whenever I’m sitting in my room crying at night about how I can’t figure things out and don’t like the way that my life is and wondering when am I going to find a job that I love and some friends that I really connect with, I tell myself that many, many years from now, this time is going to be another great story that I can tell.
Of course this doesn’t always work. I can’t see the story that’s unfolding. I’m hurting and angry and confused and want to know more than anything how and when things are going to change… but there are those easier days when I can envision myself in the future, talking to someone. Maybe it’s my mom, maybe it’s a husband, maybe it’s a friend, and maybe it’s a child… but I’m telling them a story, about something I overcame, and even if it’s just for a second, I feel hope that this dark time will pass as well.
You won’t always see the good in a bad situation. You won’t always feel hope. You won’t always be able to find the motivation to keep going. Sometimes you’re going to sit down and cry and want to give up – and that is perfectly okay.
Just remember that it isn’t going to last, because you are okay, and you’re exactly where you need to be.