Regret & 4 Tips for Self-Forgiveness

Episode Transcript

Julia Landauer 0:04 Hello everybody, and welcome back to another episode of If I'm Honest with Julia Landauer. I don't know if anyone else felt this way this past week, but it was a doozy. And I just felt completely spent for most of the week like, this is the most solid, I've slept in a long time I got in bed at 9:15 on Wednesday, I mean, I was quite tired. And I don't know if it's because work is definitely starting to ramp up a little bit more. Or maybe there's something with the pollen in the air, it seems like a lot of people I spoke with also felt very tired. So anyway, I hope you all we're able to take the weekend to recharge and feel more energized. Speaking of work ramping up, so I am working on a bunch of different projects. And on one of the projects, I'm working closely with someone who's helping me get information and who's reaching out to people on my behalf. And this person did something that wasn't detrimental. It wasn't bad, no harm, no foul, but it was something where we can probably do it a little differently moving forward, and it would probably be just as effective. And this person felt really bad about what they had done. And I get it like people want to do do well at work. But you know, I was kind of surprised that this person felt so bad. And while I was talking with this person, I couldn't help but see their remorse and like feel a lot of compassion for them because they want to do the best they can. And I love that. And I feel the same way. But I also wanted to kind of shake them a little bit and say "you got this, you're fine, like we are good, don't worry about it." And that got me thinking about kind of having regrets and then also the importance of learning how to forgive yourself. And so because of that, I decided that I want to chat this week about exactly that. Regret and self forgiveness. Because it's hard, right? Regret is one of the most agonizing feelings I think that I feel outside of grief, maybe. And it just, it totally sticks you in the pit of your stomach and I feel it in my heart, I feel it in my head, I just, it's this feeling of like, oh my goodness, my life could be different had I done something differently. And that's, that's a rough one to grapple with. And so because of this, and because of how intensely I really hate the feeling of regret, I've tried quite hard in my life to live intentionally and thoughtfully so that I avoid regret. But obviously, no one can avoid regret 100%. And so in prepping for this episode, I wanted to do some research on to what are the most common types of regret, right? And there are four types that I found pretty universally written about. And they are foundational regrets, boldness regrets, moral regrets, and connection regrets. So foundational regrets are those where basically we feel like we could have done work better, we could have prepared more, practiced more, done better work, things that are finance related, health related, career related things that we feel like we failed in terms of the prep work done. And so when thinking about how we can avoid foundational regrets, I think the big key is to think ahead to do a lot of thorough work and to really thoroughly prepare. The second type of regret is boldness regrets. And as you can probably expect, this revolves around inaction and the regret of not trying something, not doing something, not asking the question, not asking the person. Apparently this is a pretty big one that people feel towards the ends of their lives, like if they didn't learn a new language, or they didn't ask someone on a date, or they didn't go after a career they wanted or they didn't take the trip that they wanted, you know, things like that. And so the way we can think about trying to avoid boldness regrets is to, when in doubt, go for it, do what you want to do, try the thing that you're thinking about and don't err on the side of comfort or control or being reserved, that kind of thing. The third regret is moral regrets. And as I'm sure you can also imagine, this one revolves around when you know that you should have done something a different way because of how it impacts others kind of taking the low road instead of taking the high road for whatever reason. I think this is the area where we really need to lean into our sense of values and what tenants we live by. But if we're trying to avoid moral regrets, I think the easiest way to think about it is to when in doubt, take the high road. The last type of regret is connection regret. And this apparently is the most common type of regret that people have when they get to the end of their lives because it revolves around not nurturing and supporting relationships, whether it's not reaching out to someone who you were thinking about or if it's not putting enough time and effort into relationships that you deal with regularly. People really hate the feeling of wishing that they had made a phone call or cared more about someone or put more time into someone. And so I would say the lesson here for how to avoid connection regret Is to have empathy and to put the effort into people that you care about. After reading about these types of regrets, I realized that most of my regrets are foundational. For example, in 2019, I was racing in the Canadian NASCAR series and I led a lap in that race, I ran second in that race for a long time with my teammates who were both champions in the series. And after a round of pitstops, I wasn't at the front of the pack at this point, but I was trying hard. And I could tell I was getting a little sloppy, I could tell that I was missing my marks a little bit that I was continuing to push really hard. And I knew that I was getting a little sloppy. And instead of getting my act together, I just kept pushing hard while being a little sloppy. And lo and behold, I found myself in the outside wall of turn four. So that was rough, because that was kind of, you know, my best opportunity that year to do really well in a race. I was great at that track. I liked that track, the car was handling Well, anyway, big time regret, because it impacted the whole rest of my season. And had I just been smarter about stopping the sloppiness that I acknowledged I was doing, I probably would have had a much different season. So that's a rough one to swallow. Another example of this kind of foundational regret for me is when I was on SURVIVOR. So I made the active decision to not tell people I went to Stanford because I wanted to focus on the racing. But I also, I knew that going to Stanford came with an air of privilege. And since we were playing for a million dollars, I didn't want people to think, oh, just this privileged little kid. And so I didn't talk about that. And it impacted the game. It impacted my play. It impacted my relationship with people on the on the show. And I just did badly and I got no real airtime. And it just it went so much worse than it could have gone in my opinion. And there are definitely elements out of my control. But this very specific decision I made totally backfired. And that's my one opportunity. Although I've applied to be on Survivor again, I will not get on it, I don't think, and so it was my one opportunity to really do something super cool. And I feel like I totally fumbled it. And I do regret that to this day. I don't feel like I have a ton of connection regrets or boldness regrets or moral regrets. I live pretty strongly by my moral compass. I think I'm pretty compassionate and thoughtful towards other people. And I really love the people that I have relationships with. And so I don't find that I have many regrets in that area. But in thinking about all this, I was trying to think back to when my first real feeling of regret came. And surprise, surprise, I think it was on a go kart track. I was 11 years old. It was my first full season of racing. And I hadn't won yet. But I was leading this race, I was several kart lengths ahead of people, I had a really dominant lead. And I was probably five laps from the end of the race. And I thought, "oh my goodness, this is so exciting?" And I started to let my mind wander, I started to think about winning, I started to think about celebrating, I started to think about how proud my parents would be I started to think about how great it would feel to win a race. And the next thing I knew I was spinning through the grass and watching go karts go by on the track. It was awful. I felt so low in that moment. And I couldn't tell you what happened from the time I was leading the race that time I was in the grass, I just missed something because I wasn't focused. And oh, it was so agonizing and so embarrassing, and such a profoundly clear memory for me. And so I think once that happened, and I knew exactly what I could have done differently, I really tried to minimize that feeling moving forward. And that's kind of easier said than done, right? To say that you want to live a life with no regrets, like cool. But how do we do that? Because most of us care about what we're doing. And most of us care about how we treat people and can recognize when we do things that aren't great. I like to think about it as living very intentionally and very thoughtfully. So how does this translate into day to day life? I religiously focus on what's in my control. I am extremely compulsive about this in any situation, I think about all the elements where who can I reach out to what action can I do? How can I prepare things like that. And by focusing on that, I know that I'm giving it my all and even if things don't go my way, if I've impacted everything that's in my control. That's kind of the maximum that I can do. I also really think about when I'm in the moment and deciding how to behave, how to act, how to talk to other people. I asked myself if I'll be disappointed myself later, particularly if it doesn't end up going the way I want. For example, when I was training for racing, you know, the idea of doing a really long hot cardio session sounded terrible, but it's like okay, well if I fatigue in the car, am I going to be disappointed myself? Hell yeah I'm going to be disappointed. I'm going to be like "Julia you dumb dumb. Why didn't you just train harder in that moment so that you can do better in the race," things like that. I think about that when it comes to preparing for a keynote, right? If I feel like it's not super smooth, but it's, it's kind of tedious to practice a 45 minute keynote over and over again. But if it's not there, and if I don't perform well, I'm going to be super disappointed in myself. So thinking about these things really helps me gauge how to behave so that I don't have regrets later on. And then the last thing is that I put a lot of effort into thinking about how other people feel, how I would want to be treated in a situation. And that helps me stay grounded in making sure I don't have regrets and how I treat people that I love and care about. Because that is, it's just so awful to feel that you've hurt someone that you care about and that you love. Which I've done recently, so I was really upset with myself and saw what I could have done differently. No matter how much we try to avoid regret, obviously, we can always do that. And even if we're super thoughtful, even if we're super compassionate, even if we prepare a lot, we all have regrets. So I now want to pivot and focus on how we give ourselves forgiveness. I don't know about you, but I'm really good at beating myself up when I regret something I've done, whether that's regretting how I delivered a keynote: even if the clients happy, if I knew I could have done better, I beat myself up about it, I make sure I over practice for the next one to make sure I'm not making the same mistakes, you know. Or if I'm hungover one morning: I will be so angry at myself for not being more responsible and diligent the night before. And just like you can see where you can do better. And if you know that you can do better obviously think about that. But beating a dead horse is not effective. And it doesn't serve anyone, it doesn't help you very much. And so I want to focus on what we can do to work on self-forgiveness. And there's multiple steps that I go through. And the first thing I think about is did I learn something, did I learn something about myself something about the process, something I could do better. And as long as there's a lesson, there's a net positive. And if there's not a lesson, then yeah, maybe you should feel a little regret and feeling that regret will hopefully encourage you not to do it again. But if you did learn something, think about that, and focus on that. And you've just made yourself a little bit better. This next step that I think is really important is to let yourself feel remorse. I am big on letting myself feel my feelings. Because I think that's how we grappled with them sooner, I feel like that's how we move on from negative feelings sooner. And I firmly believe that being uncomfortable is the best motivator to change. If you are deeply uncomfortable with how something is and it's your own doing especially like you will change it because you do not want to find yourself in that position again. So while feeling remorse is important, it's also important to have compassion for yourself, and to forgive yourself to understand that you are human and that everyone makes mistakes, and that it's probably not detrimental. But to have compassion, it's also really important to make amends if other people were involved in this regret that you have, to make amends with them. And the key thing that I have to actively remind myself to do is to stop myself from revisiting what I did over and over again. My mind will take me back to a specific moment over and over and over again and I will replay it and I will continue to be in that not so great spot. If I can instead catch myself and I catch myself thinking about it again and revisiting be like "Stop, stop thinking" and literally change your focus to something else. It's easy to get in that cycle of beating a dead horse and revisiting things you could have done differently. But really focusing on trying to stop yourself so that you get out of that cycle and you focus forward is really, really important. All right, team. That's all I got for you today. So reminder, there are a lot of different types of regret: foundational ,boldness, moral, connection regrets, everyone has regrets. But the more that we can live intentionally and thoughtfully and think about the silver lining and let yourself feel remorse and make amends but also have compassion, the better we can work on self forgiveness. And I think a key step for improving ourselves is to give ourselves the grace to move on from it. So I wish you luck as you embark on this journey of trying to minimize regrets and maximize self forgiveness so that we can make positive change. If you liked this episode, I hope that you'll leave a review rate the podcast, subscribe to the podcast, share it with someone who you think it might be helpful for. As always, thank you for letting me be honest with you and I look forward to seeing you next week.