Last Updated on April 29, 2020
We all do things that we regret. The problem is that the feeling of regret can cause us to feel extremely unhappy – even to the point of depression. None of us deserve to get stuck in that feeling of regret. We are all human and we all make bad choices once in a while, and reminding us of that is a way that our friends may help us feel better. But, knowing ‘we are all human’ is not often enough to help us overcome regret. The following quotes about regret tackle the subject of regret, overcoming it, and avoiding it, and they could help manage a lot of regret in your life.
1. Overcoming Shame And Regret By Stacking The Good
“If you do what I call an emotional flood, where you flood yourself with all the beautiful, proud things – things you’re grateful for in your life, you’ll find that will overwhelm that feeling of shame and the shame feeling will disappear. But it won’t disappear by analyzing it.” – Tony Robbins
Tony Robbins’ quotes go beyond just success quotes. He really has a knack for making things simple that we all make so hard.
Shame and regret go hand in hand. When we feel shameful, we regret something we did and wish we could take it back. Shame is a painful feeling and we can spend a lot of time thinking about what we did and wishing we could have done it differently. But that doesn’t do any good.
As Tony says, you will never deal with shame by harping on it. You need to find things you are proud of and grateful for and then overwhelm the shame with the good. Or, as Tony said, ‘stack the good’. It just makes sense. The more you focus on the good things, the less you focus on the things you regret and you can start to move forward.
If you don’t practice gratitude, you may want to take on a gratitude challenge and start working on focusing on those things that you are proud of and grateful for.
2. Regrets Don’t Hurt As Much If You Learn From Them
“What you regret from your past changes nothing, what you learn from your past changes everything.” – Khalid Al Ameri
When you focus on your regrets, it changes nothing, except, maybe, makes you hurt even more. But, the act of going over what happened and wishing things were different doesn’t change what happened.
BUT, when you take a lesson from what you regret, it gives that situation more meaning. It turns that regret into something valuable – something that you may even be glad happened.
For instance, if you regret taking your ex back because he or she broke your heart again, you can sit around and beat yourself up for taking them back OR you can decide that taking them back taught you a valuable lesson. Maybe it taught you that emotions can blind you. Maybe it taught you that some people just want to use you. Maybe it taught you that you deserve so much better. If you look, you will find a lesson. Focus on that lesson and your feeling of regret will lessen.
3. How To Avoid Saying Things You Regret
“Speak when you are angry – and you’ll make the best speech you’ll ever regret.” – Laurence J. Peter
Watch your words and you will save yourself a lot of regrets. You can think before you speak – that certainly helps. But, the best indicator that you are going to say something mean or hurtful that you may regret later is that you feel angry. If you are angry, it’s best to avoid saying too much until you have a chance to calm down and see things more clearly, because anger really does cause you to say what’s on your mind whether it will hurt someone or not.
Think of it this way: We’ve all heard the stories of someone saying something mean to someone during a fight and then never getting another chance to say anything again because that person dies before they see them again. Keep that in mind when you are angry. Yes, you could have a chance to say sorry in the future, but you may not, and the intense regret of hurting someone with your words and not being able to rectify it will more than cancel out any pleasure you get from telling someone how you really feel is anger.
4. How To Avoid A Lot Of Future Regrets
“We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret or disappointment.” – Jim Rohn
You’ll see in the video below that as we age, we tend to regret things we didn’t do more than we did. The best way to ensure that we don’t fill our lives up with a ton of regret is to be disciplined enough to do what we need to do now.
For instance, I know a woman who knew that smoking was bad for her. She could feel it in her body. She quit for a week, and instead of gathering up the discipline to stay committed to her new smoke-free life, she decided to have ‘just one cigarette’. That cigarette led to another twenty years of smoking and eventual death at the age of 45 to lung cancer.
Whether you need to get disciplined in your work, health, relationships, finances, or anything else, you will find it much more rewarding than living with the pain of regret years down the road when things fall apart, feel stressful, or impact your life in a way that you can’t bounce back from.
5. Regret Shows That You Are An Empathetic Human
“Regret, I think, is a function of empathy.” – Brene Brown
Feeling regret over something you did that affected someone else negatively? Well, at least you know that you have empathy, and that’s a good thing!
I know some people who say they don’t regret a thing. Really? You don’t regret being a high school bully? You don’t regret treating your ex poorly? You don’t regret making someone else suffer so you can feel better? You don’t regret making your mom want to pull her hair out?
I’m not saying that you should harp on things you’ve done to other people, but I do think there should be a sort of cringe when you think about treating others poorly. It shows that you have the ability to understand other people’s feelings and the drive to make other people’s lives better, not worse. In other words, you have the ability to be a person who contributes to this world positively. And that’s a good thing since you are constantly contributing to this world in one way or another!
So, if you are feeling regret right now, add to your ‘stack of good’ list that you are someone who values what other people think and feel.
6. Enjoy It All So You Don’t Regret Missing Out
“I asked you about going on the plane and going so many different places, and you said… “Why didn’t I enjoy it?” – Oprah talking to Barbara Walters
When Barbara Walters asked herself, “Why didn’t I enjoy it?” it was a life-changing moment for Oprah, so she says. For me, this is one of those quotes about regret that touches my soul.
I have missed so many moments being annoyed, thinking about the future, being stuck in my mind, focusing on the wrong things, and not being present in the moment and enjoying what was going on around me.
I can’t count how many family get-togethers I’ve had where I forgot to enjoy it because I was focused on the wrong thing.
I can’t count how many moments with my husband I’ve been focused on other things and not enjoying my time with him. And between work, sleep, and commitments, we don’t get a lot of time together!
I regret not enjoying my time with my Grandpa when he was alive. I also regret not enjoying my time with my Nana more. Those are two hard lessons that have taught me to try and enjoy the moment so I don’t regret missing out on all its beauty, fun, and inspiration later on.
This is a regret we can tackle right now and here. Start enjoying the moment. Stay present. Enjoy good company. Appreciate the situation or circumstance you are in for what it is. Do what you enjoy and enjoy what you do. This is one of our greatest ways to tackle future regret.
Listen To 70 People Talk About Their Regrets
The following video has 70 people talking about what they regret. They range in ages 5-75. One of the comments on the video is that a lot of the children regret what they did do while the older people tend to regret what they didn’t do. That’s quite a lesson on regret! Would you rather regret the things you do than the things you don’t do? Think about that.