Is Regret your Friend or your Foe?

Mar 15, 2015 by Reen Rose


Here I sit in a noisy pub in Vancouver listening to the loud cheers and cries of anguish of impassioned rugby fans. These are true fans as this game started at 6.30 am. Why am I here? Although I do love rugby I would not have chosen to get out of my warm bed and venture into the pouring rain if it was only me I was thinking about. However, as I am here with my husband I decided to get up and keep him company. I do look a little strange with my laptop in front of me. I didn’t realize that I could type and watch a game enough to look like I am part of the crowd.

We make many decisions on a daily basis. In fact the average adult makes approximately 32,000 decisions each and every day. Many of them are made with barely a moment’s thought, while others involve agonizing hours of assessing pros and cons.

If you make decisions, and all of us do, then you are going to make choices that you wish later that you hadn’t. Does this mean you regret your decision?

According to the dictionary regret means to feel sad, repentant, or disappointed over something that has been done.

For many people, regret is a negative emotion that should be avoided at all costs. That was my thought too, until I began to prepare for a presentation about regret. What word would we use to describe how we feel after we make one of those ‘What was I thinking?’ decisions if we use it as a learning experience to move forward from? Don’t we need to regret our decision in order to believe we have something to learn from the experience?

Perhaps regret can be both positive and negative and we have the choice of how we want to view it. You can let it hold onto your ankles like quicksand and slowly drag you down, unable to move forward from it, or you can choose to forgive yourself and use the experience as an opportunity to grow.

Life is full of a never-ending need to make decisions. When your choice results in a less than desirable outcome you can choose whether to let it hold you back or make you stronger.