Regret is an appalling waste of energy, you can’t build on it – it’s only good for wallowing in. 

– Katherine Mansfield

I recently heard a conversation in which a respected teacher mentioned that regrets were ok because if we didn’t have them, we might not grow or make different decisions in the future. I was surprised to hear that perspective from this person. Since hearing that comment, I’ve begun to wonder about my beliefs about regret(s). I know that I have had some of these in years past. You probably know the ones – the “shoulda, coulda, wouldas” of our experiences in this life.  Sometimes, things simply happen. We say something that we wish we had not said. We make a choice that today we wish we had not made. There is plenty of material to work with, if we are honest with ourselves.

Never regret. If it’s good, it’s wonderful. If it’s bad, it’s experience.

 – Victoria Holt

And then I remembered me. The me of today. The one who is always reading, learning, practicing, loving, accepting, opening and moving forward and taking responsibility for myself, my beliefs, my choices and my actions. If I hold regrets, am I stuck? Am I not honoring my life and all of the lessons it has brought forth in my experience?  Are these regrets serving my growth and evolution? My answers to all of these questions returned me to the deep trust that I have in Life. If I trust that which is greater than me and my connection to it, how can I not trust that my experiences have shown me something I needed to know or remember about myself. Even the ones that we call “bad” –  as if we have to name each good or bad –  have brought me to where I am today and deepened my awareness. I also realized that many of those regrets came from experiences in which I was not the only one involved. I am the only one I am responsible for and I cannot control anyone else. Why let the holding of any regrets keep me stuck, living in a series of past experiences I really can do nothing about today?

Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves – regret for the past and fear of the future.

 – Fulton Oursler

And then there is this. Allowing past to become prologue, has us living backwards; not moving forward; not embracing the future; not open to our growth potential and opportunities. I have been there. I have done that. I have allowed myself to sit in regret and to be stuck. I have had moments in which I have questioned why I am here. What is the use of a life, if all that it is, is a series of bad experiences, sadness and seemingly insurmountable problems. And then…I realized that my outlook at the time was keeping me from knowing and realizing my light within, and obscuring the view of the possibilities before me, in each and every moment. Yes, the gift of realizing the power of presence helped me free myself of the regret for the past and the fear of the future.

You will find that it is necessary to let things go; simply for the reason that they are heavy. So let them go, let go of them. I tie no weights to my ankles. 
 – C. JoyBell C.

Then, I realized the gift of freedom, of lightness when I let it all go. The old stories I tell myself or carry in my head; the “whys” which underpin the regrets, were no longer the weights keeping me stuck in concrete and unable to take a step forward. No more weights. Only wings…to lift and carry me into the rest of my life on this planet. THAT is the freedom which comes from trusting and letting go of the weight of regrets.



Comet Lovejoy
by Lori Coleman of Loco’s Photos



Letting go means to come to the realization that some people are a part of your history, but not a part of your destiny. 
 – Steve Maraboli

7 thoughts on “regret

  • This is timely, Carrie. Just before Thanksgiving I was listening to a talk given by Elena Brower in which she mentioned that regret, like guilt, is destructive and blocks you from possibilities. Remorse, Ms. Brower said, is different from regret in that you might be sorry about something, you might want to change it, but you accept that it happened. The dictionary definitions beg to differ (regret is defined as being sorry or repentant whereas remorse is defined as deep regret), but I think I get what she was trying to say which is that we can be sorry about something but still accept that it’s a part of our lives (and part of what makes us who we are today). I’ve been pondering it, even looking at the synonyms for regret and remorse. I found it interesting that “compassion” is a synonym for remorse, but not for regret (regret also includes such biggies as “self-disgust” and “self-condemnation”).

    Maybe we need new words for things. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am a researcher of words, as you apparently are, dear Robin. Having researched the etymological origins of some words, I am even more aware of how many of them are used improperly. It’s really shocking. Without giving it much more thought, I feel like remorse is probably what the teacher I heard talking about regret may well have intended and it would have made more sense in the context of the discussion. All of that said, both words connote, for me, being stuck, self loathing, shame, etc. I feel it is important to do our healing work and then the full release of regrets is not only possible, it is essential. Thank you for adding an additional perspective to this post. Remorse adds another important dimension to the thoughts which inspired it. 🙏​


  • I too have been told that regrets are something to move on from … and are therefore not okay. I think we learn that in coaching school, where hanging on to the past is therapy and not for growing and evolving peeps 😉
    However, recognizing regrets and meeting them head in it a wonderful way to see the past from an open and learning perspective. Regrets are real nuggets on our journey to freedom.
    However, getting caught up in them and creating stories and beliefs around them keeps us stuck.
    Awareness and accepting them is the first step to transcending them.
    Great post Carrie 💛

    Liked by 1 person

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