What is regret anyway?  Another means of self-flagellation?  A symbolic gesture of conscience?  A frustrated desire to change the past?  If self-condemnation actually accomplished its goal and altered the past, the person you are presently would not exist.  Do we really believe we can change ourselves by mourning the past?

The reasons for regret are usually linked to unpleasant current circumstance.  We experience disappointment and immediately rue our actions, as if we were solely responsible for the event.  If only I had been prudent, this discomfort would not have occured.  But there is no way to predetermine any outcome, especially if other people are involved.

We tend to forget that people are masters of their own lives.  Changing our actions will not necessarily change them.  In fact, they might respond in ways that are completely unexpected. 

Furthermore, if we are so stubbornly vested in specific outcomes, perhaps we should examine our own neediness and control dependency.  Are we really so fragile that we must manipulate every detail?  

It’s been said that adversity draws out one’s true character.  In crisis, we are put to the test and must act spontaneously in response.  There isn’t time for elaborate rumination to decide which of our many faces to wear.  We act in the moment, prompted from honest intention or fear, and this unguardedness reveals whom we truly are.

What has it revealed about you?  That you are decisive, doing what is principled and right?  That you are joyful, acting from the heart and connecting to others?  Or that you are self-protective, taking whatever you can and running from the scene?

No matter which best describes you, it is what and whom you are.  No amount of remorse will change that fact.  Therefore, if you are struggling with regret, the struggle is probably with self-acceptance rather than with external conflict.  Conflict with others usually occurs when we are not honest and disguise our natures to conform to another’s expectation.

If you are behaving with sincerity, then there is no place for regret because you honor not only yourself but others, too.  Giving them the freedom to behave and react as they choose is equal to giving yourself the same.  Allow them to be and you will discover that you have been liberated from the bonds of expectation and attachment, and regret will become nothing more than a habit discarded.



  1. Very well put ! If we choose one of two paths with information or intuition of the moment isn’t it unfair to ourselves to look back with regret later with updated data ! Driving down the road only bad things can happen if you are constantly looking in the rear view mirror !

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