Does regret come with negative and positive impacts?

by - 19:42:00

Hey everyone, hope you're well! I thought I'd write a post on something that really gets me thinking, it's something we all do, but is it completely negative? Of course, we won't all have the same views on this, with this in mind, I'll be exploring the negative and the positives from the feeling of regret.



Have you ever used the phrase, "I regret not doing that." Or something along those lines? I've definitely said it a few times in my life that I regretted not doing something, but thinking about those times, is it something that can be picked up again? Or was it something so small that really didn't matter and we should stop worrying about it.

There's lots of people out there that say we shouldn't regret anything we do or don't do, but how many of us actually do have this feeling of regret?


What is regret?


The dictionary explains that the word 'regret' is a "feeling of sadness, repentance, or disappointment over an occurrence or something that one has done or failed to do." It's seen as an extremely negative word, so it's often a word we use when we're feeling disappointed about something we haven't managed to do or have done. Regret can be closely linked to shame and guilt, because we might do something that we feel guilty about or ashamed of.

The funny thing us humans do, is even if the alternative decision to what we chose to do or did not do, can often be something that's highly impossible or improbable - this then causes us to experience self-blame and feel disappointed in ourselves, we like to give ourselves are hard time. There's different kinds of regret though, someone could feel regret for one or two particular incidents where maybe you made the wrong decision or you could have handled something better. Another type of regret could be that you regret how you spent part of your life, or maybe you chose a different career path or a different route to go down, but later in life you regret that decision.

The emotion of regret can be something that hangs over us for a while, we might not think of that particular 'regret' every single second of the day, but it can every so often fill your thoughts, perhaps when you're having a bad day. But again, I feel this links with the long-term regret of wishing we chose a different path -  just as an example. Regret can also be short-lived, maybe when you were choosing what takeaway to have you regretted that you didn't go with pizza instead! Have you noticed something? Regret seems to always be linked with the past, and unfortunately with that, it means we cannot go back in time to change our steps and thoughts, we can only change them through working on them for the future, and taking the different steps now to slowly get you back on the path that you once regretted not taking. Of course, that doesn't work for everything, it's not like you can revert eating that Chinese and swapping it with a pizza - but you can decide to have pizza as your next takeaway choice.

Can regret be a good thing

If you think about it, when we regret something we often learn from the experience and improve future decision-making skills. It can be seen as something that pushes us to work harder or motivates us to not give up. It hands us a learning curve, we have learnt that next time a similar choice appears you might have a better understanding or do something a little different because you know that outcome will make you feel happier.

However, should we have this negative emotion to teach us a lesson? We can find motivation and to push ourselves more without regretting something. With regret being such a negative emotion it can often affect our mental health because of the affects it has on our happiness. Sadly, because regret can often cause people to feel shame, sadness or remorse about decisions it can lead us down a negative spiral, and it can be something that people really struggle to cope with. We're all different, and some of us can struggle finding the motivation, or the positive outcomes from those things we once regret.


What do you think? 


I asked the lovely people of Twitter their thoughts on this subject as I was interested to see what others think of regret: 

I asked ~ What are people's thoughts on regret? Do you think it positively impacts our future decision-making skills and gets us to work harder, or do you see it as negative because it makes us feel disappointed in ourselves, guilty or even ashamed? Or a bit of both...? 





















Thank you to everyone who replied to my Tweet, I really enjoyed interacting with everyone and finding out how others feel about regret. I haven't included everyone in this post just because there was so many of you who replied and I didn't want to make the blog post too long, but it just means there's always space for another blog post about it in the future! ♡


My thoughts? 

I definitely agree with all of the points mentioned by others. Regret is a negative thing to get caught up in, if you have regret on your mind and it's causing you stress and making you feel unhappy all the time then it can lead to a negative spiral. However, I also feel that it can help us in the future, it gives us that learning curve for next time, it can make us feel differently about something that we may come across again in the future. It's all about twisting things into positives, there's always a positive to come out of something.

What are you thoughts? Let me know in the comments below! 



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38 comments

  1. This is such an interesting post and I actually really agree with a lot of the points. I try really hard in my life not to look back and 'regret' anything because it seems like such a waste of time but your point about being able to learn from regrets is a really interesting and valid one. I think we all do it whether we're conscious of it or not don't we?
    Soph - https://sophhearts.com x

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    1. Thank you, glad you found it interesting! I agree with you, I think it is something we do without even realising! xx

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  2. This is such a good subject! I try not to think about if I 'regret' something as you can't change it, I like to just move on to the next thing. If it's something you can learn something from or improve on then I think it can be a good thing to help you grow. But if you're just going to dwell on it and think negatively, or if it's something you can't change, it's pointless wasting time and effort worrying. I think the only thing I really do regret is my degree but there's obviously no changing that so it's pointless dwelling on it now x

    Sophie
    www.glowsteady.co.uk

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    1. Glad you like it! And I totally agree, it's not something we should dwell on because it's already been done, but if it's something that we can learn from then we may as well use that as a learning curve! I'm the same with my degree! xx

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  3. I think there's a fine line between getting so caught up in your regrets that it impacts you negatively and using them as a way to learn, grow and move forward. I think we'd all prefer the latter! This is a really interesting topic and discussion - it's given me a lot to think about.

    I wrote a post YEARS ago about how annoying I found it when people would say that you're too young to have regrets and all these "inspirational" quotes you see everywhere about how you shouldn't regret any of your decisions. I made some terrible decisions in sixth form about my future and I still regret them today, over 7 years later. My life could have been totally different and it's my fault that it's not, so it's really hard to take all these "you shouldn't regret anything!" quotes.

    Jenny
    http://www.jennyinneverland.com

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    1. I totally agree, it's such a mixture and I think it depends on the person too, I definitely prefer the latter haha. I agree so much, I'm not a fan of the quotes that say about being too young to regret things, it doesn't matter what age you are, you can definitely regret decisions you've made in your life, but I guess it's all about trying not to dwell on them and instead trying to move on from them <3 xx

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  4. I think regret can either positively or negatively influence us, depending on your outlook on life and how you choose to deal with things. Although it does make us feel badly about ourselves and our life, it also pushes us to do better or to make changes.

    Of course this is no good or counts for little if you have regrets on your death bed. In that case it is negative. But, for example, if you regret how you treated someone in the past then, although you may feel ashamed of yourself, that will drive you to be a better person - therefore equalling in a positive.

    Very thought provoking post.

    - Nyxie

    www.nyxiesnook.com

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    1. Yeah I agree, it does depend on the person and what our mindsets and outlooks are like! I like to learn from any regrets I may have, and of course, we can't go back into the past and change things, but we can definitely push ourselves to do better or make changes! Thank you, glad you liked it! xx

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  5. Great post Chloe! It is an important aspect of our lives that should be considered, seeing that we probably experience that once in a while... or more often for some!! Sometimes it can be such a heavy weight that drags us down and it's unfortunate but I'm sure anyone reading this will feel more motivated to get back on their feet and keep going. Thank you for sharing this! :)

    Geraldine | https://geraldinetalks.com

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    1. Thank you! It can definitely be a negative aspect of our lives if we dwell on our regrets for too long, it is all about getting back up onto our feet and moving on! xx

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  6. This is a really interesting topic, Chloe! I think regret should be a positive thing as it means we can make better decisions in the future and not repeat the same mistakes twice. Saying that though, I often dwell in the negativity for too long and I wish I could see the lesson quicker and just move on. Really thought-provoking post, thank you for sharing! <3 xxx

    Bexa | www.hellobexa.com

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    1. Thank you! I totally agree, I would definitely want to see my regret as something that makes me feel motivated, or looks at it as a positive outlook to change something or better myself, I can be the same though, sometimes I dwell too long on regrets! Thank you for reading <3 xxx

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  7. I've never really seen the positives to regret until now. There's so many valid points on learning from those past decisions that lead to regret. I really beat myself up with regret, and I have a lot of them. I'm beginning to wonder if I've been making the same choices time and time again without even realising it?!

    Sxx
    daringcoco.com

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    1. That's why I wanted to write about it, I felt like a lot of people saw the negatives more than the positives of regret - including me sometimes! That could be the case, it can be difficult to know sometimes!! xx

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  8. It's always easy to dwell on the negative, that's why regret is often perceived as an issue rather than a learning opportunity. I think regret is something we can use to make smarter and more balanced decisions in life. Even such little details in life like choosing chinese over pizza can teach you a lot about yourself. Many years ago I didn't help someone because I wasn't sure if help was needed. It ended not very well for me, so now I always react, sometimes even before anything happens.
    Your post was a very wise read.
    Dorota
    www.journalofdorota.com

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    1. I totally agree with you, it is very easy to dwell on the negative so I can see why a lot of people see regret as such a negative thing, but yes definitely we can learn from regret! Thank you, glad you enjoyed reading the post! xx

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  9. Now I'm older, I tend not to feel regret more acceptance as now I know I made the decision I did, at the time with the best if of my ability or knowledge. Regretting would imply it was the wrong decision, which for me I disagree, there's no right or wrong, just you dealing with decisions as best you can x

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    1. I love that way of thinking, you're so right, we did what we did at the time because that was the right decision at that time! xx

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  10. Regret is really interesting to think about.
    I’m lucky that I have no serious regrets in life, but of course there are things I could have done differently. I just choose to think about why I made certain decisions, and I am happy to report I still stand by all of my decisions.

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    1. It is a very interesting topic! I'm glad you stand by all the decisions you've made! xx

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  11. Even though regrets come from negative connotations, like "I should've" or "I should've not", there is some good that can come out of it like a lesson to avoid in the future. I love that people shared their thoughts about regrets. Being negative can lead into different things and it is important to see the good in situations. Thanks for sharing the positive vibes!

    Nancy ♥ exquisitely.me

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    1. It was lovely to see how positive everyone was/is when I asked! I agree, there is good things that can come out of those things in life that we regret, it's important to see what we can learn from them! Thank you for reading! <3 xx

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  12. I think regret can be seen as both a positive and negative entity - If we never spoke for our actions then we would never learn or progress from how we feel and what changes we can make in order to avoid that feeling. And on the other hand - some people (myself included) like to ‘over-mill’ things if you will, and when you have those type of regrets it really isn’t healthy as they hardly ever amount to anything positive or productive. Lovely read!

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    1. I'm the same, I can dwell on things for far too long and most of the time they are definitely nothing to keep dwelling on! I agree though, I think regret can be seen as both positive and negative! Thank you <3 xx

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  13. For me personally, I like regret to the point of improving. If it ever gets to just digging myself a hole then I try to stop and reset. It's good to feel guilt or regret of it leads to something better

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    1. That's true, regret can lead to us improving ourselves and what decisions we might make in the future, I think it's important to find the positives in them! xx

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  14. Awesome article!! I try to make a positive out of everything but I do, at times, struggle with regrets. Very interesting!!

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  15. I love this!! It's made me think about things in a very different way. Yes, I have regrets, but looking at them in this mindset means that actually, at the time, I did things the way I needed to at that moment and so while I wish things would be different, even if I could go back, it wouldn't be. And you're right: regret is linked to the past and if we let ourselves let go of it a bit more, maybe things will be easier? Gorgeous post!

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    1. Aww thank you, glad you enjoyed the post! Seeing what everyone tweeted as well made me feel very positive, it's important to try and find the positive from things and not to dwell too much on things in the past that we were not happy about! xx

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  16. This is such an interesting post. There's definitely a fine line being dwelling on things you regret and using them as a learning curve for growth.

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    1. Thank you, glad you found it interesting! Definitely agree! xx

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  17. Great post! I try hard not to have regrets because I do believe that what’s meant to be is meant to be but some things might nag a bit. I wished I would have traveled more when I was younger. Now I feel I need to spend most my vacation time with my family because of health stuff with my father. But I still have plenty of time to travel and plan to do more in the future!
    It’s better not to have any regrets. And I agree to turn it into a positive. 😊

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    1. Thank you! Yeah I agree, the regrets we may have unfortunately we can't go back in time and change them but we can always improve on them now and in the future! xx

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  18. I think this is such an interesting topic to think about. It's one I was actually talking to my sister about recently. My dad doesn't seem to live with regret. Once he makes a decision he somehow in his mind believes it is right no matter what. He doesn't think about the what if of the other decision choice. While my mom and middle sister have the hardest time making decisions and then living with the decisions. It seems they always regret it or think about the "what if." I don't think either are particularly healthy. I think there should def be a happy medium. Thanks for this amazing post. It definitely has me thinking!

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    1. I got really into it when I was writing the post seeing everyone elses' answers and I was also chatting to my boyfriend about it at the same time. I think that's a pretty good way to go about it, it's definitely more positive seeing decisions that way instead of dwelling on them because you may regret it, but like you said, I think it's better to have a happy medium, because these decisions can be things to learn from in the future and so if you're always in the mindset that you don't regret anything then you may not get any positive changes from them! Aww thank you so much! xx

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  19. Absolutely in love with this post! And so interesting to read how other people view regret, some really inspiring thoughts to take away from this. Thanks for sharing, Chloe! x

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    1. Aww thank you Hannah, glad you liked it! I agree, it was really inspiring seeing everyone's thoughts! xx

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