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A Spoonful of Regret

Personalized support for learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life. Delivered fresh everyday by our world renowned experts. Choose meditation duration:

Hi, and welcome to your Daily Mindfulness. Today I'm going to talk about transforming our relationship with regret. So when I think about regret, regret is actually a funny thing because even though we know that no matter how much we sit there and wish we'd done things differently, it doesn't change what happened in the past. And it's a strange habit because regret doesn't feel good. It causes us to suffer quite a bit.

And yet we can't seem to help ourselves just replaying it again and again. Now the reason that our minds tend to do this is because of how we evolved. So in the past, our hunter-gathererer ancestors, their life was really difficult and dangerous. And so to survive, it was important for them to replay any dangerous encounters. You know, such as a run-in with a bear or a rival clan.

If they manage to survive the encounter, you see, the mind would replay the event again and again and again, so they could learn from it and have a better chance of survival next time. These days, the mind tends to do the same thing with any mistakes, misfortunes, embarrassments, and regrets. It just replays them again and again. But it tends to do this way beyond what's actually helpful or useful. So I offer you this.

A wise teacher once said to me, regret is okay, but just a spoonful. What he meant was that if you notice the mind going into regret mode, then there can be a great opportunity to recognize that what we did may not have been helpful for ourselves and others and we can learn from that. And we can make an intention to do better in the future. But then after that, you just let the mind relax. You've learned what you needed to, so you can trust that it's okay now to let it go.

This spoonful of regret really need not take long at all. Maybe just a minute or so. Just enough time to acknowledge what happened, learn from it, make an intention to grow from it. And we can do this with an attitude of honoring any other people involved and honoring ourselves. So we do this as an act of love for them and ourselves.

In this way, our regrets, rather than being debilitating or unhelpful, can become a great source of wisdom, motivation, strength, and mental clarity. So here's my invitation. Whenever regret arises, as best you can, not spending too much time wishing you could change things that you can't or punishing yourself or berating yourself. Instead, just switch the focus to taking a mindful pause. Give yourself one minute, maybe two max to have a spoonful of regret.

Just enough to learn, grow, make an intention to behave from now on, in ways that leave yourself and others feeling happier, healthier, and more empowered. As always, thank you for your practice and your presence here with us. And now let's settle in for today's meditation.

Melli O'Brien

4.7

A Spoonful of Regret

Personalized support for learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life. Delivered fresh everyday by our world renowned experts. Choose meditation duration:

Duration

Your default time is based on your progress and is changed automatically as you practice.

Hi, and welcome to your Daily Mindfulness. Today I'm going to talk about transforming our relationship with regret. So when I think about regret, regret is actually a funny thing because even though we know that no matter how much we sit there and wish we'd done things differently, it doesn't change what happened in the past. And it's a strange habit because regret doesn't feel good. It causes us to suffer quite a bit.

And yet we can't seem to help ourselves just replaying it again and again. Now the reason that our minds tend to do this is because of how we evolved. So in the past, our hunter-gathererer ancestors, their life was really difficult and dangerous. And so to survive, it was important for them to replay any dangerous encounters. You know, such as a run-in with a bear or a rival clan.

If they manage to survive the encounter, you see, the mind would replay the event again and again and again, so they could learn from it and have a better chance of survival next time. These days, the mind tends to do the same thing with any mistakes, misfortunes, embarrassments, and regrets. It just replays them again and again. But it tends to do this way beyond what's actually helpful or useful. So I offer you this.

A wise teacher once said to me, regret is okay, but just a spoonful. What he meant was that if you notice the mind going into regret mode, then there can be a great opportunity to recognize that what we did may not have been helpful for ourselves and others and we can learn from that. And we can make an intention to do better in the future. But then after that, you just let the mind relax. You've learned what you needed to, so you can trust that it's okay now to let it go.

This spoonful of regret really need not take long at all. Maybe just a minute or so. Just enough time to acknowledge what happened, learn from it, make an intention to grow from it. And we can do this with an attitude of honoring any other people involved and honoring ourselves. So we do this as an act of love for them and ourselves.

In this way, our regrets, rather than being debilitating or unhelpful, can become a great source of wisdom, motivation, strength, and mental clarity. So here's my invitation. Whenever regret arises, as best you can, not spending too much time wishing you could change things that you can't or punishing yourself or berating yourself. Instead, just switch the focus to taking a mindful pause. Give yourself one minute, maybe two max to have a spoonful of regret.

Just enough to learn, grow, make an intention to behave from now on, in ways that leave yourself and others feeling happier, healthier, and more empowered. As always, thank you for your practice and your presence here with us. And now let's settle in for today's meditation.

Melli O'Brien

4.7

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