Stop Regretting Decisions

Great Egret in FlightSo here’s the story: After a lifetime of hand-copying ancient texts, an elderly monk became abbot of his monastery. Realizing that for centuries his order had been making copies of copies, he decided to examine some of the monastery’s original documents. Days later, the other monks found him in the cellar, weeping over a crumbling manuscript and moaning, “It says ‘celebrate,’ not ‘celibate!'”

Ah, regret. The forehead-slap of hindsight, the woeful fuel of country ballads, the self-recrimination I feel for eating a quart of pudding in a crafty but unsuccessful attempt to avoid writing this column. If you’ve ever made a bad decision or suffered an accident, regret has been your roommate, if not your conjoined twin. It’s a difficult companion, prone to accusatory comments and dark moods, and it changes you, leaving you both tougher and more tender. You get to decide, however, whether your toughness will look like unreachable bitterness or unstoppable resilience; your tenderness the raw vulnerability of a never-healing wound, or a kindness so deep it heals every wound it touches. Regret can be your worst enemy or your best friend. You get to decide which.

There are at least two time zones where you can choose to make regret’s powerful energy healing rather than destructive: the past and the future. Both can be transformed by what you decide to do right now, in this moment.

Let’s start by changing the past. If you think that can’t be done, think again. Literally. The past doesn’t exist except as a memory, a mental story, and though past events aren’t changeable, your stories about them are. You can act now to transform the way you tell the story of your past, ultimately making it a stalwart protector of your future. Try these steps, more or less in order.

1. Get Beyond Denial
As long as you’re thinking, “That shouldn’t have happened or I shouldn’t have done that,” you’re locked in a struggle against reality. Many people pour years of energy into useless “shouldn’t haves.” The angry ones endlessly repeat that their ex-spouses shouldn’t have left them, their parents shouldn’t have overfed them, or their bosses shouldn’t have made them wear uncomfortable chipmunk costumes in 90-degree heat. Even drearier are the sad ones, who forever drone some version of “If only.” If only they’d married Sebastian, or gotten that promotion, or heeded the label’s advice not to operate heavy machinery, they would be happy campers instead of les misérables.

I call this unproductive regret. People use it to avoid scary or difficult action; instead of telling the story of the past in a useful way, they use it as their excuse for staying wretched. If you’re prone to unproductive regret, please hear this: Everyone agrees with you. That thing you regret? It really, really, really shouldn’t have happened. But. It. Did. If you enjoy being miserable, by all means, continue to rail against this fact. If you’d rather be happy, prune the “shouldn’t haves” from your mental story, and move on to…

2. Separate Regret’s Basic Ingredients
Of the four basic emotions—sad, mad, glad, and scared—regret is a mixture of the first two. Your particular situation may involve enormous sadness and a little anger (“My father died before I ever met him. Damn cruel fate!”) or enormous anger with a side of sadness (“Why, why, why did I get a haircut from a stylist who was actively smoking a bong?”). Whatever the proportions, some regretters feel sadness but resist feeling anger; others acknowledge outrage but not sorrow. Denying either component will get you stuck in bitter, unproductive regret.

Considering anger and sadness separately makes both more useful. Right now, think of something you regret. With that something in mind, finish this sentence: “I’m sad that __________.” Repeat until you run out of sad things related to that particular regret. For example, if your regret is contracting Lyme disease, you might say, “I’m sad that I feel awful.” “I’m sad I can no longer ride my pogo stick.” “I’m sad that the woods don’t feel safe to me anymore.”

When you’ve fully itemized your sadness, make another list, beginning each sentence with the phrase, “I’m angry at ________.” For example, “I’m angry at my body for being sick.” “I’m angry at God for creating ticks.” “I’m angry at the entire town of Lyme, Connecticut, for which this $#@* disease was named.” Write down all the causes for your rage, even if they’re irrational.

Once you have a clear list of your sorrows and outrages, you can move on to step 3, where you’ll work both angles to transform unproductive regret into the productive kind. This is extraordinarily useful but also profoundly uncomfortable because the only way out of painful emotion is through.

3. Grieve What is Irrevocably Lost
Sorrow is a natural reaction to losing anything significant: a dream, a possession, an opportunity. Productive grief passes through you in waves, which feel horrific, but which steadily erode your sadness. The crushing mountain of sorrow eventually becomes a boulder on your back, then a rock in your pocket, then a pebble in your shoe, then nothing at all—not because circumstances change but because you become strong enough to handle reality with ease.

You’re finished grieving when you see someone gaining what you regret losing and feel only joy for them—maybe even secret gratitude that circumstances forced you to enlarge your own capacity for joy (this is how I feel about people who don’t have a kid with Down syndrome). If your sadness stops evaporating, if a certain amount of it just isn’t budging, simply grieving may not be enough. Regret is telling you to seek out a part of whatever you’ve lost.

4. Reclaim the Essence of Your Dreams
You can’t change the fact that you binged your way up to 300 pounds, or lost a winning lottery ticket, or spent decades in celibacy rather than celebration. But you can reclaim the essential experiences you missed: loving your own healthy body, enjoying abundance, feeling glorious passion. In this moment, resolve that you’ll find ways to reclaim the essence of anything you can’t stop grieving.

Jenny’s big regret was that one disastrous gymnastics meet had tanked her chances to make the Olympic team. When I asked her what she would’ve gotten from the Olympics, she said, “Pride, excitement, world-class competition, attention.” Once she’d articulated these essentials, Jenny found herself gravitating toward a job in television, which provided all of them. Now, she says, her life is so exciting that she virtually never thinks about the Olympics. Instead of sidelining her, regret became just one more springboard.

I’ve been coaching long enough to brazenly promise that if you decide to reclaim the essence of anything you regret losing, you’ll find it—often sooner than you think, in ways you would never have expected.

5. Analyze Your Anger
The anger component of regret is every bit as important and useful as your sadness. Anger is a bear, but if you pay attention, you’ll hear it roaring useful instructions about how you should steer your future. Don’t fear it, run from it, tranquilize it, try to kill it. Just leave the kids with a sitter, team up with a sympathetic friend, spouse, therapist, or journal, and let your angry animal self bellow its messages. There will be a lot of meaningless sound and fury, but there will also be information about exactly what needs to change in your present and future so that you’ll stop suffering from old regrets and create new ones. Basically, your anger will roar out this next instruction…

6. Learn to Lean Loveward
When I saw A Chorus Line, I wondered if it’s literally true that “I can’t regret what I did for love.” So I did a little thought experiment. I recalled all my significant regrets, and sure enough, I found that none of them followed a choice based purely on love. All were the consequence of fear-based decisions. In the cases where my motivations were a mix of love and fear, it was always the fear-based component that left me fretful and regretful.

For example, I’ll be up most of tonight, having spent the daylight hours eating pudding in reaction to writer’s block, which is a species of fear. I predict that tomorrow I’ll regret this—I’ve spent many, many sleepless nights fearing this or that, and no good ever came of it. But I’ve also lost a lot of sleep for love. I’ve stayed up communing with friends, rocking sick babies, avoiding celibacy. And I really can’t regret any choice that brought me one moment of love. Do your own thought experiment, and I suspect you’ll come to similar conclusions. (Let’s face it, a song that catchy just can’t be all wrong.)

So the ultimate lesson of regret, the one that will help guide you into a rich and satisfying future, is this: Every time life brings you to a crossroads, from the tiniest to the most immense, go toward love, not away from fear. Think of every choice in terms of “What would thrill and delight me?” rather than “What will keep my fear—or the events, people, and things I fear—at bay?”

Sometimes the choice will be utterly clear. Love steers you forward, and no fear arises. But on many occasions, things will seem trickier. The path toward what you love may be fraught with uneasiness, anxiety, outright terror. The pound dog will tug at your heart, but worry about upkeep will push away the first sparks of love and leave you without a four-footed friend. You’ll long for success but dread the risks necessary to earn it. Your impulse to champion the oppressed might compete with panic for your own sorry hide.

That’s when you can call on regret—not as a burden that you still have to bear but as a motivator that can forcefully remind you not to make choices that will feel awful in retrospect. If you’ve grieved your losses, reclaimed your dreams, and articulated your anger, regret will have made you the right kind of tough-and-tender: dauntless of spirit, soft of heart, convinced by experience that nothing based on fear—but everything based on love—is worth doing. Living this way doesn’t guarantee an easy life; in fact, it will probably take you on a wondrously wild ride. But I promise, you won’t regret it.

64 replies
  1. Linda Ellis
    Linda Ellis says:

    I think its’ easier to leave regrets behind at an earlier age. In one of your examples, a younger woman just chooses to pursue a television career. LIttle harder to do that when you’re 65 and realize you’ve spent your entire career in a job you hate…but you didn’t save enough money for retirement..even living in a hut still would be too expensive at this point. The fact I was a binge eater and ate my life away…disappointed so many people ‘cuz I never “showed up”..literally as I preferred to binge sometimes vs being with people. Now Im lonely as my friends, rightfully so, left me…two within the past year that I’ve known for 30-40 years. So, much harder when there’s so little time, opportunity or health with…maybe I’ve turned into one of those bitterly unhappy people filled with regret. Bummer.

    • Adela
      Adela says:

      All the more reason to start now..You have so much regret ( as you mentioned) so maybe you could use all those years as fuel to help turn it into positive change. I have also struggled with binge eating with social anxiety in the mix, and I do relate to choosing to be alone than with others to indulge. Hang in there. We are obviously coming here for a reason.

    • Jorge
      Jorge says:

      Hi Linda,

      I don’t think it’s a coincidence that you posted this to MB blog. You have reflected very intelligently to your life up to now and seems like with Martha’s wisdom you can live some pretty good years ahead. Follow your instinct and make the changes you want to make, even if little bits at a time.


    • Heather
      Heather says:


      I read your post and my thought is this: 65 is not dead. And easily you have another 20 or 30 years should you choose it. Choosing to be a bitterly unhappy person filled with regret is still a choice. When you are tired of this choice and the previous ones, make new ones. Use Martha’s (and people like her) posts and newsletters as your turning point. Louise Hay, Wayne Dyer, find as many as you can…you absolutely CAN do it. I will leave you with this and the hope that the beautiful soul that you truly are hears it to the very core.

      ‘Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our greatest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous. Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.’ ~Marianne Williamson.
      Much love and ‘umph’.

    • Irene
      Irene says:

      Dearest Linda
      I am so sorry for the unhappiness you are experiencing. I would like to share something I came across one day:

      “yeah though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, it doesn’t mean I have to build a condo there and live there forever”

      You have reached a low point, but you don’t have to stay there forever. You can change. It may not be easy, but the first step is making a decision to change. When things fall apart, it can be an opportunity to create something new and better. Don’t give up on yourself.

      • jamie
        jamie says:

        loved your quote…it made me smile and think that is so true. It is inspiring to push against the lies and myths we keep to ourselves. Forge on I say and hope to do more and more each day.

    • pat
      pat says:

      I am sorry and can so relate to your feelings of regret and time passed. I am so darn tired of being sad! I read once “Smile….It makes people wonder what you’ve been up to.” For what its worth ….. there are lots of us in this boat…..and its not sinking yet. Maybe we’re just not done improving yet? Love sent your way! Keep reading this very smart/kind/funny Martha Beck! !!

    • Richard
      Richard says:

      Linda, I’m curious: what have you noticed as you’ve worked through the six steps that Martha describes in her post?

    • Mary
      Mary says:

      I’ve been having a lot of regret regarding a family issue and came upon MB’s brilliant post here. Linda, just a thought, might this be an opportunity to address the fear that fueled your regret? Not quoting here, but MB says most regret is a consequence of fear based decisions. I tried on MB’s fear concept with my regret and it was absolutely spot on. I am excited to think my regrets will provide me with a road map to address my remaining fears. MB is the fear elimination master. I am able to fly and travel because of her teachings on feeling the fear and doing it anyway. I am in the middle of reading MB’s book Steering by Starlight and it provides more detail – in such a spirited and fun way – on these concepts/teachings. I trust MB when she says, “I’ve been coaching long enough to brazenly promise that if you decide to reclaim the essence of anything you regret losing, you’ll find it—often sooner than you think, in ways you would never have expected”. Who knows what lies ahead – but, I am going to cut over to reclaim when the regret lizard pops into my head.

    • Bernadette
      Bernadette says:

      You can still bloom from where you are planted. Right now. In this moment. Really.
      And it’s so fun to start taking care of YOU – my motto for years before I actually did it was “Be the change you want to see in the world”…. once I took this to heart, life became wonderful EVEN THOUGH I was still in debt, overweight and self-employed without tons of security. It can be good – really!!!

    • Caroline
      Caroline says:

      In some ways, I am presently thinking like you. My thoughts are that it is easier when you are young. I am in my late 50’s. At 50 yrs. old, I lost my job in the mortgage industry, went back to school to pursue my dream of becoming a graphic artist, only to incur a large student loan. I only have a “certification” NOT a degree in Graphics. I have been trying to get a job, but they are very difficult to get. I have made my world as small and simple as possible, moved to another area for affordability, which has been isolating. So all that being said, I still have hope. I am here. I am embarking on a different angle to make the “paradigm shift” that is desperately needed in my life. I thought I was “doing” the work emotionally, but I see that I have not been doing it at all. Spiritually, I am trying to find my way back and it has been a LONG road. I found that I have been living “celibate” instead of “celebrating” because of my religious upbringing. My “spiritual” world has been rocked to it’s core. I have huge regrets that are multi layered, and I have learned to not cling to them. All I can do is ask for forgiveness to those that feel short changed by my inabilities to be “what they thought I should be”. The sadness comes when the forgiveness is not accepted. I have forgiven myself, and except my fate, and believe that time heals. I am an amazing “cheerleader” for others life aspirations, whether they be emotional, physical, or spiritual, but I struggle with being that for myself. Interesting. So, please know you are not alone…we are all here for a reason.

      • Teri
        Teri says:

        Hello Caroline — if you are still looking for direction, try ‘giving away’ your services to people or causes who could benefit by them — I think we cut short the process in thinking that it is about our getting to do what we want — I think there’s another step, which is the movement of something through us, through which we offer what we love to do to the world — if no one will ‘pay’ you for it just now, look for some people that are themselves making a contribution somewhere and try contributing what you can do to them.

    • Anna
      Anna says:

      My heart goes out to you! I'm feeling similarly. 35, very few friends, no family or kids. Feeling sad about all the opportunities missed, all the times I ignored my intuition / didn't know to trust it. I'm constantly overwhelmed with a feeling of sadness. Add to that that as we age our opportunities to have kids dry up and our health starts to go. Furthermore, fewer people approach us and friends are hard to make. Is this what getting older is? I'm sad but maybe we could be friends! Haha. At least we have a few things in common.

  2. Miraaj
    Miraaj says:

    Hey Martha,

    I like reading your articles very much. I think you are a lovely person and I wish you all the best.


  3. Caryl
    Caryl says:


    You are the best! Loved this read
    and try to live my life this way….not
    always successful!

    Appreciate your great insight and

    Love,light and Grace,

  4. Gina
    Gina says:

    Brilliant article. I must give you my favorite pudding recipe, though. If you’re going to eat it, it might as well be good. Get a package of chocolate pudding mix from the store – the kind you add milk to and COOK on the stove. Prepare according to the directions. After the pudding boils, add a few big spoonfuls of chunky peanut butter. And cream cheese. Small pudding mix takes about 1/2 block – large = use the whole thing, or more if you prefer. Stir until both are melted. Top with dry roasted peanuts and blackberries. OMG – this stuff is incredible. And since it’s topped with fruit and nuts – you can call it healthy!

  5. Anja
    Anja says:

    Thank you for tweeting the link to your article…full of advice and inspiration. Great techniques of which I shall have a go with. Aim for love instead of fear…sooooo valuable.
    Many many thanks for shining this light

  6. Melissa Curran
    Melissa Curran says:

    Having regrets does no good at all. It took me until I was well into adulthood to realize that regrets are simply a ball and chain that you have to drag everywhere. I choose to forgive myself for all the regrets I have, file them away and move on. If you don’t, all this baggage will show up as ailments because the anger and sadness have to ooze out somewhere and it’s usually your pores…Wonderful blog post!

  7. Liz Triesault
    Liz Triesault says:

    My brother was murdered. John and I were like two phoenix who had come up from the ashes. Our father killed himself when we were children and our mother married many times and we moved as often as every couple of months. We both became alcoholic and then moved on to recovery. We both got sober in the 1980’s within months of one another. Our lives were transformed through Grace, dedication and hard work. I married and was pregnant with our second child when my brother was shot in the head and killed. I give you the background as it relates to the topic of regret and changing the past. I was like an insane woman after John’s murder. There was nothing I could do to change what had happened and no way to escape my excruciating grief. The police had the ‘hit men’ in custody but not the man who had hired them. My brother was shot in front of a full lunch crowd at a popular deli. The most painful emotions came when I even started to think about my brother being approached by the man who put his arm around John’s shoulders and shooting him in the head. I had always been the one to comfort my brother, to worry for, love and support him. The idea that he was alone or frightened when murdered was more than I could take. It was him I was devastated for, not our great loss from which we would never recover. A very wise woman once told me that THE PAST IS ALIVE AND WELL AND LIVING IN OUR MINDS. She said that THE MIND IS WHERE THE PAST NEEDS TO BE HEALED. This thought repeated itself to me as I sat with my grief. One day I sat with the pain and let the scene replay in my mind as witnesses described. I saw my brother speaking on his phone, standing next to his car in front of the windows of the deli. I pictured the hit man approaching. This time I put myself in the picture standing next to my brother, as close as skin. I had my arm around him and was whispering to him, “I am here. It’s alright. You are not alone. I love you. I am here…” The most amazing scene appeared, unbidden by my conscious mind. Behind my brother was the most brilliant and comforting Light. I knew that not only was John not alone, but that I was no longer alone. I KNEW that my brother was going into the most comforting of arms and that I no longer had to hold our world upon my shoulders. This was just the beginning of the gifts that tumbled out during that time. Just the beginning. THANK YOU, MARTHA FOR YOUR PLAYFUL AND INDELIBLY ALTERING STORIES. YOU ARE ONE OF MY LIFE CHANGING ANGELS. I REALLY HEAR YOU.

  8. Irene
    Irene says:

    Martha,this is my first visit to your site. I really resonated to this post and will be rereading it regularly to stay on track. Thank you so much

  9. Meredith Walters
    Meredith Walters says:

    I love the distinction between fear-based decisions and love-based ones. As I coach, I work with clients on this distinction a lot, but I’d never tied it to regret. It’s true, though, that I rarely regret actions aligned with a heartfelt purpose.

    I would add one more item: acknowledge that you don’t always know the end result of everything. Lots of mistakes I’ve made have had surprising good results as well as bad. Not having made the mistake might mean giving up something else that I hold dear.

  10. Casey
    Casey says:


    I have been coming to your site on and off for years. I have read all of your books. I almost never comment on anything but for some reason today I just had to tell you that you have the most incredible way of taking all the information you know on how the mind works, how the body heals, how humans are wired emotionally and put it into a few paragraphs that are funny, truthful, practical and full of humility and love.

    It all shines in your writing. I feel as if I am at the table talking with you. That is how personal your writing feels to me–so thank you, thank you, thank you. It is a true pleasure to know I can come find you anytime. You have become such a kind and wise guide for me over the years.



  11. Priya
    Priya says:

    Help me out. I’m in my early fourties, I’ve always wanted to be a mum and have a marriage. Most part of my adult life I’ve been single. At this age I can’t have healthy kids anymore. I even don’t have a partner. At my age I only meet divorced man, man with children and most often much older men. I feel second choice because they all have had their best years with another woman while I was against my own wishes alone. I was social active and still no one came across. How can I reclaim the essence of my dream (step three). I don’t want to be a stepmother. I wanted my own children and my own family.

  12. Margarethe
    Margarethe says:

    Hi Priya!

    I have an exercise you might try…
    Break down your dream of having a loving marriage and kids (and even a house or whatever else is a part of that dream) and break it down into its parts. For instance: loving partner, dream home, child/children (be specific about the details… how many kids, what kind of home, what kind of partner…

    Then write down what you will get from every component of this picture. For instance, your husband would perhaps give you:
    -A companion to talk to about hopes and fears
    -Someone to live with so you don’t live alone (or conversely, maybe a reason to move out of the living situation you are in if you have roommates or live with others)
    -A sexual mate
    -A person to go on holidays with etc etc.

    -A deep sense of purpose
    -A way to leave a legacy
    -A reason to stay home and not work at a job you don’t like (or whatever else, be honest about everything you might gain)

    Then tackle the list ONE BY ONE. See if, JUST FOR TODAY, or even for a second, you could gain the ESSENCE of one of these experiences from somewhere else. Share your hopes and dreams with a close friend or relative that will listen with love. Maybe bring up the possibility of a “girls trip” type vacation with friends. Re-examine your living situation and see if there is room for improvement. Pets are AMAZING to live with if you are alone. Try to just improve one little thing. Just one small aspect. You will gain a huge amount a confidence and power by feeling that you are back in control of your happiness.

    At first, you will feel like you are trying to fool yourself. No, having coffee with a friend won’t replace your desire to have a life mate, but it is BETTER that not having coffee with a friend and NOT having a mate either. This is about simply letting go of the things we can’t change, and focussing on the things we CAN change. THATS when the magic happens! Instead of longing for the things you don’t have, take some time to grieve them as Martha suggests. DO THE EXERCISE. WRITE.IT.DOWN. I have read exercises many times and it is not the same as doing them. Once you have written down your regrets and all the reasons you are mad and sad about it, then allow yourself to grieve the loss.

    That grieving creates SPACE, space for wonderful things to enter into your life. More joy and magic that you can imagine. It has happened to me countless times. But DO these exercises. DO the work. Life coaches are only teachers to give you the instructions on how to better your life, but YOU are the only one that can heal yourself.

    Good Luck!

  13. Laura Peterson
    Laura Peterson says:

    I read your post and I regret my thoughts about myself a long ago when I decided about my career. “I should have never chosen this field.” “I should have left my job long ago.” It’s no fun to lament over decisions you’ve made in your career. Instead of letting remorse suffocate you, face it head on. I did talk with my career coach and that is what help me in that time.

  14. Johannah
    Johannah says:

    Long ago…(thankfully).. I decided I would always do the best I can in any situation that arose — and today I do not regret any of those decisions. I just knew once at the crossroad – that my best decision was really the ONLY decision I could make.
    Thanks for this…. it was a really good read!

  15. Gail Perry Johnston
    Gail Perry Johnston says:

    Very nice, especially your discussion of helping Jenny figure out the essentials of what she had lost so she could pursue those essentials elsewhere. Brilliant. My New Year’s resolution three years ago was to stop saying, “I should have done such and such” and to stop suffering over regrets. I’ve made much progress; your article will keep it going.

    I also enjoyed your “To-Do List, or Not-to-Do List” in Oprah Magazine. Thanks!

  16. Char
    Char says:

    Martha – I just love reading your articles. I am at a point in my life where decisions need to be made and this article is just another tool in my toolbox to help me in my decision making process. Thank you for such great insight. You are a remarkable teacher and for that I am so grateful! Thank you.

  17. Lucia
    Lucia says:

    What a great article. This is one of the best articulations of the process of getting past regret I have come across. Thank you so much, Martha.

  18. Kathy
    Kathy says:

    I’m grateful for this post and also the comments. Today I did two things that were snarky and resentful rather than leaning loveward… even though I tried my darndest to lean loveward, I let the hurt (from perceived disrespect) push me into pain and fear and snappishness.

    In some ways those feel like shooting myself in the foot, and like a very familiar pattern of resent-turned-rage. Only recently did I realize that reconciliation is not the same as being eaten alive. These two things make me realize that though I’ve got the new definition, the habit and fear that drives that part of me is still a work in progress. Or perhaps… a piece of work. I give myself credit for the awareness, and even for the improvement in execution. But the outcome still feels life threatening. I am not making that up.

    Onward, with more luv. K

  19. Amy
    Amy says:

    This post was like music to my ears! So, so good. I have no doubt I will be using this info. throughout my life. I have already sent it onto a few people in my life who have been so overwhelmed by regrets that they’ve been unable to move forward. I love, love, love this. Thank you so much MB. Very timely and spot on in my opinion.

  20. Mrs. Crankypants
    Mrs. Crankypants says:

    Yeah, okay, dammit, you nailed it.

    I was just reinforcing a major regret on the phone tonight w my ex and pretty soon he’s like,

    ” Okaaaaay….well, I really need to get off the phone now….yeah, I got an appointment back in The Land of the Living…..!”

    I keep pounding that old dead horse into ground.
    I’m 62, have been stuck in my severly PTSD wounded child despite more therapy and spiritual workshops than most people on the planet, have not healed it, have never had a healthy successful relationship ( read distasters) have practiced my food addiction to the point of a 50 lb weight gain.


    I have pulled hasty foolish geographics giving up the sweetest affordable house 3 blocks from the beach in Santa Monica moving back to the East Coast climate that I HATE (!!) and have been stuck here for 17 yrs, paralyzed. My health and career and energy have colllapsed because I sacrificed my well being ( I was a Beacon of Light when I lived in California) trying to help my craazy insane alcoholic family and it all bit destroyed me : 5 deaths in 21/2 yrs, including both my parents.
    I fell HARD, with two AFIB hospital stays ( thankfully my heartbeat is normal now) but it took its toll on me and Im exhausted bone weary fatigued all the time. I am doing my best on a shoestring, in debt up to my eyeballs, living on a wing and a prayer. I am alone and lonely. Most of ,y so called friends have vacated. Nobody loves you when you’re down and out. Well, there are a few, some even new.


    Well, lisen to this, FLASH BULLETIN:

    I am a GREAT singer. I’ve written some pretty great songs. I’ve been singing since I came put of fhe womb. Maybe even when I was still in there. I’m good. Somgood I could sing nack up with James Taylor. I’m not kidding. I’m THAT good.
    Regret: I’ve wasted my talent, my life, on PAIN.


    I know I’m supposed to be on a stage sharing my voice with people. I’m slowly working my way toward THINKING about doing some open mics.

    The reason I got sick and collpased is, I’ve been hiding my Light under a bushel.
    I am a wise, brilliant powerful creator soul with a major gift to give.


    “IT IS TIME…”

    And when I do, Joy will ensue, and maybe I won’t be so cranky.
    (A name chage might be in order)


    And, as we all know, it’s never too late to have a happy………..DAY.


    Mrs Crankypants

    • Toni
      Toni says:

      Hi Mrs Crankypants,

      Except for the singing part, your story resonates. It was more than a year ago when you wrote this and I’m wondering how and if you’ve managed to turn things around?

  21. Dorothea Tholen
    Dorothea Tholen says:

    June 26, 2015:
    Please help: I discovered Martha Beck, because Lissa Rankin said somewhere in Mind Over Medicine that she wanted to read everything M.Beck wrote. When I started reading the…whatever I signed up for—more than once, I discovered in peoples' comments that I COULDN'T FIND THE VIDEOS MENTIONED; I COULDN'T FIND SOMEONE'S MENTION OF AN ELK. I looked and looked, read and read, but e.g. no elk…While I am 68, the level of stress which I've achieved thru my husband's dementia–well, I am trying her humorous, incredible writing suggestions–I still want to find these writings of which others wrote.
    Maybe someone can do that. Dorothea Tholen


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] as I was writing this post, I chanced upon a great post by Martha Beck about how to stop regretting decisions from her daily inspirations.  If you are finding regret is ruling your life, I strongly recommend […]

  2. […] How to Stop Regretting Decisions {Martha Beck} […]

  3. […] stumbled across a number of blogs recently that have made use of this paradigm, and I wanted to illustrate it in light of a recent […]

  4. […] Check out her great post “How to stop regretting decisions, here. […]

  5. […] stumbled across a number of blogs recently that have made use of this paradigm, and I wanted to illustrate it in light of a recent […]

  6. […] How to Stop Regretting Decisions […]

  7. […] Quote of the day: “Every time life brings you to a crossroads, from the tiniest to the most immense, go toward love, not away from fear. Think of every choice in terms of ‘What would thrill and delight me?’ rather than ‘What will keep my fear—or the events, people, and things I fear—at bay?’ “ — Martha Beck, How to Stop Regretting Decisions […]

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