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Living With Regret

Acknowledging Regret Without Being Debilitated by it

written by John Amodeo, PhD, MFT May 2, 2019
Living With Regret

Everyone has them but few of us talk about them. If we have lived fully, we’re bound to have regrets. You may have heard people proudly declare, “I have no regrets.” However, such a declaration doesn’t pass the sniff test. Having regrets is an unavoidable part of the human condition.

Everyone Has Regrets

Believing that we’re beyond regrets or shouldn’t have them places us in double jeopardy. We experience them and then add the additional insult of judging ourselves: “What’s wrong with me for having them?” The sobering truth is that we all screw up sometimes. If we claim to be regret-free then we haven’t been paying attention, or we are living in denial.

Regrets might be defined as carrying sorrow or shame regarding past actions or decisions. Perhaps we regret our choice of partners or decisions around our relationship choices, health, or career. Toward the end of our life, we may regret not having spent enough time with loved ones. Maybe we didn’t appreciate the good things we’ve had or enjoyed the gift of being alive; we should have taken more risks to love and grow. Perhaps we’re too riddled by shame and guilt to recognize the harm we’ve caused others by our insensitivity or narcissism.

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