The Illusion of Regret – Why Regret May Not Be What We Think It Is

I often think about regret and the role it plays in our lives.

When we think back to certain times in our lives, we may recall times where we would have done something differently.

Maybe we would have said something we didn’t say.

Maybe do something we didn’t do.

Or vice versa.

But everytime I find myself in this predicament, there is one question that I cannot help but ask myself.

Are there things in my life I could not bare to be without? 

Are there things in my life that I’m grateful for? 

Are there things I could not imagine willfully letting go of?

The answer to this question, for me – is yes.

And my suspicion is for most of us, it is a resounding ‘yes’.

And if it is a yes, then there is something to be said about this ‘feeling’ of regret we come to experience.

Sometimes we cannot understand the intricacies and dynamics around choice in our lives.

If we acted differently back then, we may very well not be experiencing the things we are grateful for today – in its current form.

So then maybe it isn’t regret, we are feeling, after all.

Perhaps this feeling is not trying to pull you back to your past, but pull you into a future you internally want to see manifest. 


Something you may not have had the courage to do in the past but something you are ready to embody or ‘be’ now.


In this way, sometimes it feels as if regret is simply an illusion; a mirage.

Something the closer you get to, it disappears.

So today I encourage you to walk towards your regrets, not away from them.

Don’t be surprised if they simply disappear.

2 thoughts on “The Illusion of Regret – Why Regret May Not Be What We Think It Is

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  1. The thing is that regret is based on the assumption that free will is real. That you could have chosen to do otherwise. Yet based on all the variables in place, the decision that was made was the only decision possible. As such, there never was an option to choose differently. Therefore reminiscing of what could have been if you decided differently is totally wasted. There was no way to choose to do anything differently as the variables in play would not allow a different choice.

    1. This is such a fascinating thought. Thank you for sharing. I suppose the experiment would be ‘if two people were brought up with the same inputs in life, with the same timing and precision of every input, would they have both made the same decision’? Isn’t there a part of us that feels the answer to that question would be no? And if so, where is this feeling coming from?

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