Regretting Is Very Beneficial!—So Is Forgiving And Moving ON

Move on

Some people claim to have no regrets. Our experiences—both good and bad—have brought us to where we are in life, yet there’s a lot of negativity surrounding regret. If where we are in life is a culmination of all our experiences, we should feel no regret for any bad decision, because it’s often difficult, especially at a young age, to foresee the consequences of our decision. It is also possible that bad choices or decisions weren’t what brought us to our current level of personal evolution or emotional intelligence, but how we successfully navigated the wake of those decisions. So, it’s healthy to regret decisions and actions.

Regret is good. There, I’ve said it. Regret emerges from an awareness of the negative consequences of our actions. Either a decision didn’t turn out as we anticipated, or we caused someone pain. Having regret demonstrates personal accountability and responsibility for our actions. We faced with similar situations, regret inspires us to consider all the variables, including possible outcomes, when making decisions.  f you regret standing someone up on a date when you were 20, if faced with the same situation today, you would likely handle the situation differently. If given an opportunity that comes with some risk, perhaps you’ll tap into that regret and decide to take a chance rather than be left wondering "what if?" Without regret, we could repeat mistakes, ignorantly thinking that it somehow contributes to our life experience. 

While feeling regret for past decisions has benefits, regret isn’t supposed to be an albatross of shame. We cannot rewrite history. Hyper-focusing on regret ties us to the past. If you’ve done something you regret, big or small, make amends to those affected, and, importantly, forgive yourself. Unresolved mistakes can gnaw at the conscious and hasten forward progress and emotional evolution. No one is free from regret—at least they shouldn’t be. It is the by-product of learning. Regret becomes a resource for making present and future decisions.  

Experiences are opportunities to learn. Call them mistakes or choices we wouldn’t make again if we had do-overs, but keep the lessons learned from those experiences.