We've all been there – you make a decision, be it carefully considered or spur of the moment and it turns out to be the wrong one leaving you holding nothing but regret. And the wish that life came with an ‘undo’ button.
It doesn't. Elsa could tell you that.
You know, Elsa from that little known movie (ha ha...) that every girl under the age of ten can quote from memory and every parent was regretting purchasing within days of buying it? (Just kidding, it’s an awesome movie! And I'm pretty sure I love it just as much as my two daughters – although I don’t go performing song and dance routines from it in the middle of otherwise silent blood test collection centres like they do...)
You can’t undo regrettable decisions, no matter how much you wish you could. But here’s what I learnt from Elsa –you can let it go and move on.
Of course, you could also spend the next few hours (days, years, the rest of your life...) beating yourself up about it and calling yourself every type of fool for making it – you totally have that right.
But you also have the freedom to let it go. Admit your mistake, learn the lesson for next time, and let it go. Stop holding on to what could have/should have/might have been, and move on to what is.
I lost count long ago of the number of times I've watched Frozen, and the song ‘Let it Go’ in particular (thank you YouTube!) but there’s one bit in particular that always strikes me as profound (okay, so there are a lot, but for the point of the exercise, we'll focus on one). It’s when Queen Elsa throws off that long, heavy purple cloak.
I know, I know, it’s symbolic of her throwing off the responsibility of royalty and all that goes with it but I wonder how much regret she let go with it. I’m sure the decision to play with Anna that fateful night as a child was a great one, but I’ll bet she regretted it plenty of times as she spent the next however many years hiding behind closed doors in that lonely room of hers. And all that time she didn't get to spend with her sister growing up.
Maybe she regretted even putting on that purple cloak. Can you imagine how much trouble that long cloak would have been? I mean, it’s great for sitting on thrones and warming your toes maybe but dragging along in the snow like that? It would have been sodden (if not frozen solid) in no time, and quite potentially strangled her.
Kind of like regrets do.
As much as we like to harbour regret, cradling it as we remind ourselves over and over of our failures, doing so only strangles our future.
Let it go.