Regret is freakin useless

Have you ever done or said something, and then immediately wished you hadn’t? It could have been for any number of valid reasons that you regretted your decision. Maybe you hurt someone’s feelings. Maybe your feelings were hurt. Maybe you put someone on blast. Told a secret you shouldn’t have let out of the bag. Brought the spotlight to a situation that someone really wanted to be kept hidden. It doesn’t matter the reason. All that matters right now, for this conversation, is that you felt bad about it. Whether you felt bad about it for an hour or a decade, you felt bad about it. You had regrets.

Regret is normal. We should feel bad when we hurt other people. We should regret causing someone else pain. You should experience regret if you’ve hurt someone. But even though regret is normal, even though regret is necessary, I still contend that it’s freakin useless.

There are things in my life that I regret. In second grade everyone in my class was required to buy Valentines for everybody in the class and pass them out on Valentine’s Day. I went through and found the ones that said everything that might hint to a girl that I liked her and purposefully addressed those to three girls in the class that I kinda liked. But I didn’t want them to know that I liked them, so on the outside of the envelope I wrote something like, “Don’t pay attention to anything this says inside.” Lame, right? I regret that. I regret not taking the opportunity to holler at the finest eighth grade girl at my middle school (I was in seventh grade… out there tryin to win… or something) even though she told me how cute she thought I was on several occasions. I’d really like the opportunity to go back in time and kick little me in the pants for that one… Regret. I regret that I never played little league baseball. It could’ve been my sport. I could’ve made it big. We’ll never know. I regret decisions I’ve made in past relationships. I regret ending relationships leaving people hurt, and I regret even getting into at least one. Real regrets.

But what does that mean now? What good does it do to sit and regret things of the past that neither you nor I can change? Of course you may experience regret in s set span of time following an instance when you did something dumb and/or hurt somebody, but what good does it do to beat yourself up about it eight years from now? …It doesn’t. Don’t live in regret. Experience it, then leave it there and move on. Life is too short to fill it up with the regrets of yesteryear.

Until next time…

-Erik (@WalkSays)

About Author

Erik Walker

Erik is black.


    • ruth
      September 12, 2013

      I definitely agree. Constantly thinking about regrets really cause you to live in the past and hinder present and future.

    • Sariem
      September 12, 2013

      You are correct in saying that no good will come out of beating yourself up over something that happened MANY YEARS AGO, particularly, if there isn’t anything you can do about it now–at this very moment. It is pointless to beat a dead horse (which is what I think you were alluding to). However, I would argue that having regret isn’t entirely useless in some instances. Mainly because I think it is okay for us to feel sad or disappointed over something we’ve done or have failed to do. I think having regret makes us human and allows us to reflect upon our “mistakes” so that we can learn from them and grow–and be better or more fearless the next time. I truly think it adds to our learning experiences and reminds us of our imperfect nature. The key is to not let regret consume us. There is nothing good about being bitter.

    • Chris
      September 13, 2013

      I regret that I read this article.

      Guess I should just get over it.


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