“There is this huge wanting to not have hurt someone, even if it was unintentional....”

Are you filled with regret about how you behaved in the past? Read on…

Matthias writes:

When I make a step forward in my healing journey and have more clarity, I also get so much regret and guilt and wanting to change the past. I want to heal things that broke in relationships where I couldn’t show up how I knew would be best but was so triggered and blended with my parts that I could not. There is this huge wanting to not have hurt someone, even if it was unintentional.

Dear Matthias:

Your feelings are so understandable, and believe me, you are not the only one!

So many of us on the healing journey are sensitive people who really don’t want to hurt anyone, and when we realize, looking back, that our own inability to be our best self has hurt other people, it’s painful.

Sometimes it’s appropriate to make amends (as they call it in 12-Step Programs). Have a conversation with the person, say you regret how you behaved, ask if there is anything you can do now to make up for it. And then listen. You might be surprised at how differently they view the same situation!

But sometimes such conversations aren’t possible or appropriate. In any case, my favorite way of Focusing with regret is to understand that it was a younger me who behaved that way, not who I am now.

Then I ask myself: “What resource would I have needed back then, in order to respond in a way that I’d be proud of now?”

This is not to avoid responsibility, but I find it is a way to be compassionate to myself, and to tap into what I’ve learned and how I’ve grown.

Compassion for ourselves is one of the key aspects of Inner Relationship Focusing, and the good news is: Compassion for yourself (and your parts) grows the more you do Focusing.

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