Being Forgetful About Feeling Regretful
How regretful are you? Yes, that’s, regretful not forgetful! Most of us go through the day and don’t ponder our regrets much beyond, “why did I eat fries when there was a side salad?”
Others, and interestingly enough, more women than men, are consumed by so called “repetitive regrets.” These mega-regret, mental overloads – constantly going over and over situations and outcomes in your mind and musing “why did I do that?” and “I should have done the other instead” – can lead to emotional distress, an increased inability to make new decisions and even depression.
Regretting tends to fall into two personality categories: “maximizers” and “satisficers.”
Maximizers focus on making the right choice. For them, making a decision means doing homework. They gather the facts, seek other opinions, think about potential consequences and frequently take a great deal of time to decide on a course of action. As you might expect, if things don’t work out after all that effort, “maximizers” can be left devastated.
Satisficers, on the other hand, tend to be content with choices that they feel are “good enough.” They may give some research and thought to a big decision, but as opposed to their “maximizer” brethren, it’s no biggie if things don’t go as planned.
No big surprise but satisficers overall tend to be happier than maximizers so here’s my advice:
- Setting high personal goals and expectations is good but not if it riddles you with regret to the extent you can’t function if things don’t work out.
- Remember there’s no one on earth that doesn’t regret something, and even the best considered decisions can have unfortunate consequences.
- Forgiving yourself for decisions that turn out to be less than optimal is the key to moving on and being happy.