I have spent alot of time regretting my past. As in, all the things I wanted to do but never did or started but never finished, due to my anxiety.
Some things to remember are:
- If you could have done it you would have
- You were doing the best you could with the knowledge you had at the time
- If the people you see doing things you wish you could do had your anxiety disorder, it is highly likely they wouldn’t do those things either
When I first saw my doctor, he said something very simple but very important:
Life starts today
It doesn’t matter where you’ve been or what you’ve done, your life is starting anew in every moment. Each moment brings an opportunity to think a new thought and change your life. The past is gone, you can’t change it. So why use up present moments regretting the past which then becomes a past of regretting your past!!
I also think it is wise to forgive yourself. In hindsight you think “I could/should have done this or that”, but in reality at that time you didn’t know it would be ok, you were frightened and had the symptoms of anxiety and avoiding or relieving those seemed more important than doing the thing. We are not perfect, we make mistakes. Stop beating yourself up.
The truth is, if you could have done it, you would have! The fact that you didn’t means you couldn’t for reasons you may not be aware of right now.
“If only” is another way I used to upset myself. If only I had or hadn’t done this or that, things would be different. Who says? Maybe they would be worse, you don’t know. If things hadn’t happened the way they did in my life, I would not have met my fiancee and be living in another country. You never know what is just around the corner. Things happen a certain way for a reason.
Asking “why?” is another thing to avoid. “Why did this have to happen to me?” There may be many things you come up with, but none of them help you deal with the present moment and what you could be doing right now to help yourself. You have to accept that this has happened and start dealing with it.
Just because Fate doesn’t deal you the right cards, it doesn’t mean you should give up. It just means you have to play the cards you get to their maximum potential.
No its not fair you have an anxiety disorder, but you’ve got to play with the hand of cards life dealt you. Otherwise you can throw the cards away in a fit of temper and just sit there not moving the rest of your life. There is value to be found in everything life hands you.
The Acceptance Principle
This is how it is
Not how it – was; might have been; should have been
Not how – I wanted it to be; hoped it would be; planned it would be
I accept that this is how it is
Now I’ll get on with my life in a positive way.
-From a book I once had