Regret: it’s the one mental and emotional state most of us fall prey to at some point during our lifetimes; the demon that cripples us internally and is hard to fight off, much less subdue entirely. While most of us grapple ferociously with regret and find it extremely difficult to overcome, a recently published study showed that there is one key element and factor that facilitates the process of finally letting go of that debilitating emotion: self-compassion. Basically, people who practiced self-compassion were more likely to successfully overcome regret than the people who didn’t. Why? The results suggested that people with self-compassion expressed greater feelings of acceptance, forgiveness, and self-improvement compared to those who either did not practice anything or just had a healthy sense of self-esteem. This is interesting as it suggests that even having high self-esteem is not enough to fully overcome feelings of regret. Self-compassion is the key.
How so? For starters, regret is the type of emotion that can only truly be beaten by confronting it head on, and then accepting and letting go. People who engage in self-compassion are more likely to do this as they are open to analyzing what went wrong by seeing the situation through a gentle, judgment-free lense.
What’s more, those with self-compassion are also able to think of the event in such a way that its emotional impact is re-shifted because they are more likely to re-appraise the situation that caused the regret. Ultimately, they are able to see the situation in a more positive light and thus lighten the ‘load’ of the regret mindset.