How To Let Go Of Regret

At the end of a life chapter — like birthdays, break ups, New Year and so on —, we tend to look back on all the things we didn't do right or didn't do at all. Regretting is a given pain in our human existence, however, when it becomes a virus we need to set ourselves free.
Giovanni Dienstmann is an author, meditation teacher, coach, and speaker.
how to let go of anger
Giovanni Dienstmann is an author, meditation teacher, coach, and speaker.

Meditation teacher Giovanni Dienstmann takes a look on how to let go of regret that might hold you back from enjoying the present.

Regret Is A Virus In The Mind

Regret eats you up from the inside, little by little, day after day. It gives you a compelling reason to be miserable in the present moment because of something that happened in your past.

It tells you that you are not good enough. That you will never recover. To make things worse, it brings with it the viruses of shame and self-loathing.

Regret also poisons your body, and drains your energy. It convinces you that to forgive yourself would be irresponsible, uncaring, and would make you a bad person.

Does any of this resonate? If so, you are not alone.

Regret Is Given

Regret is a universal human pain. We all want to live a life without regrets—and that is a noble goal. The small problem along the way is this: you are human.

And, being human, you will make mistakes. Life is a school, and you are not born knowing it all. So you will make the wrong moves, hurt people you love, miss out on important opportunities, and fail to stand up for yourself.

This is a given. We all make mistakes. And regret is a natural reaction to this—it’s an alarm system, a warning sign designed to make us learn from our past, so that we change something inside ourselves, and make better choices in the future.

What happens for most of us is that this alarm system is broken. It just keeps on and on, non-stop. When that happens, the virus of regret is born. It becomes sticky, and fills your mind with repetitive thoughts and negative emotions. It turns your mind into your worst enemy. This is one of the features of what meditation masters call the monkey mind.

How To Let Go Of Regret

The other way to go about it is something that in my meditation teachings I call the monk mind. (And no, that doesn’t involve shaving your head, waking up at 4am, and living on tofu…)

The monk mind is not afraid of the past. It learns deeply from it, and when the learning process is done, it releases it. Moving on from it fully, the monk mind is always available to be in the present moment, and it never turns against itself.

Letting go is a skill that is trained every time we sit to meditate. It is one of the several benefits of meditation. Here is why:

  • In most styles of meditation, we are told to pay attention to an object (our breath, a mantra, a feeling, a part of the body, etc.). So Step 1 is to focus on the object. 

  • Then, when we get distracted with thoughts and memories, we become aware of that, and let them pass like clouds in the sky. This is Step 2: awareness and letting go. 

  • We then go back to Step 1 by making a deliberate (but gentle) effort to bring our attention again to the object of focus. 

  • Rinse and repeat a hundred times until the bell rings!

The process of meditation is a process of letting go and focusing, relaxation and effort, yin and yang. There are thousands of meditations in the Insight Timer app, but this is one thing most of them have in common.

Read more: In another article, Giovanni introduces the three pillars concept and explains how to meditate properly.

Do you have regrets? Things that you are not proud of, and would do differently? Now you have a choice: to hold on to that regret and suffer, or to learn how to let it go.

Learn To Let Go Of Regret In 10 Days

If you want the latter, the 10-day audio course “Letting Go Of Regret” can guide you through this process step by step—so I encourage you to take it. You’ll be amazed at how many people in our community struggle with similar things.

Start with the first step now by listening to day one:

  1. Letting Go Of Regret - Day 1 - Awaken Your Inner Fire Giovanni Dienstmann 18:01

Whatever you decide to do, my invitation for you today is this: learn from your past, but don’t let your past define you.  Let go of regret, so you can be more present for today, and more available for a brighter tomorrow!

Explore hundreds of free guided meditations for letting go of mental attachements.

Meditation. Free.