Regret—Opportunities or Threats!?

April 14, 2016

Experts define regret as it is a negative cognitive emotional state that involves blaming ourselves for a bad outcome, feeling a sense of loss or sorrow at what might have been or wishing we could undo a previous choice that we made. For people, regret, although painful to experience, can be a helpful emotion. The pain of regret can result in refocusing and taking corrective action or pursuing a new path. However, the less opportunity one has to change the situation, the more likely it is that regret can turn into rumination and chronic stress that damages mind and body.

People regret for two major and fundamental reasons. The first one is, they regret since they could have made or selected better options and choices in life than the one which they have failed or made a mistake on; the second one is, better opportunities were given in their life, but they have failed to exploit and make use of such give opportunities at hand. The first one is an assumption or hypothetical; the second one is an actual failure. In both aspects and scenarios of life, sense and thinking of regrets is borne.

When people receive offense from other people in relation to their given personality such as they could be insulted that they are bad people, liars and the like, which could provoke bad reaction in peoples’ lives in which such action and reactions of such kind of personal transactions do rouse people to be in bad shape or force them to make bad choices in life. However, whatever bad or worse offense come from other people, people still have a choice to take or be better person no matter how strong pressure they face from others. While they make bad choice in life, they could regret since they could have taken other better alternates.

Regrets are part of peoples’ daily live and undertakings. What could vary is that the intensity of regrets which people face in which the guilt which is natural part of one’s reality responds to such acts that lead to consequential regrets which people experience in life. In fact, people should enjoy on their failures with regrets so that tomorrow is another day with its own blessings and graces, as they say, there is still time for courtesy in which they can do much better things in life and there are much more things left to be done.

Living without regrets is not always so easy. People regret for missed opportunities. People regret on things that made feel dumb. People regret not telling someone people loved more before they died. People regret not spending their time more wisely, accomplishing more. People regret for not forming better habits, eating too many sweets, not writing the novel people always wanted to write, not reading all the books people planned to read. People regret getting into bad relationships, or making mistakes in a past relationship.

What is the root cause for peoples’ regret? Is it because of failures that have caused by ignorance or non-intentional basis and cases or is it because of failure of deliberate and intentional moves they have made on something or someone, taking risks of failure, but in due course of time the nature of such wrong doings make them feel something they do not like to feel about, and cause them to have regrets, as reflection of sense of guilt which they are naturally bestowed by life?

Can people escape regrets as they do any wrong in life or on other people? Can they trick such natural reality which they have been bestowed by life? Is it possible to compensate with other goods which they want to offer on anything bad or damage they inflict on other people? Is the tit for tat approach a good idea to remove sense of regrets or confession which is rightful thing to do? If they do not confess—such failures or mistakes they commit on other people—at least to their own mind and reality, how could such people admit their failures or sense of regrets should follow afterwards?

When people live to their own, admit their failures and mistakes as they are wrong and mistake at least they should tell to their own before they go to other people and such idea of confessing to themselves, not to priests, or any other person or institution which they might go, but telling such failures to their own should make them more human than pretending themselves as if nothing happened and they continue their life without admitting their own sheet, which make them more selfish and look them bad.

After admitting such failures and they feel something awkward to sense of guilt which is built within everyone’s reality, people should start enjoy life since there is much more time left to do good and better things in life and they can do more on the alternatives which they should presume in life, as if I did this or that, on the times remaining, they can be alert and they can still make good choices and they can choose good aspects of life since it is the mindset that is the most important thing and matter .

People are not actually always good, and in fact peoples’ identity can encompass a whole range; people are sometimes good, sometimes not, and sometimes somewhere in between. People make mistakes, people do good things, people care, people are selfish, people are honest, people sometimes are not honest. People are all of it, and so making a bad choice is not in conflict with that more flexible and realistic self-identity. It is part of life. So this happens and people keep going and live another cycle of life.

People regret on these bad or wrong choices they have made in past that cue for their given failures in life, which are in the past and cannot be changed, because people compare them to an ideal path that they think they should have made. People have an idea in their heads of what could have been, if only a different choice had been made. The problem is that they cannot change those choices. Hence, they keep comparing the unchangeable choice they actually made, to this ideal, It can’t be changed, and it will never be as good as the ideal. The unchangeable choice they made will always be worse. It spins around and around in their heads.

Experts also advice that regret is a negative emotion that may be adaptive if it motivates action to learn from mistakes and become a smarter or better person. However, getting stuck in regret where there is nothing that can be done to change the situation can be damaging to mind and body.  For the elderly, the developmental task may be to learn to live with and accept the life they have had, focusing on the positive aspects and forgiving themselves both for mistakes made and opportunities not taken. Feeling that one has done the best one can, given the circumstances and letting go of regret can lead to self-compassion and peace.

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