Dealing with Regret: 8 Ways to Benefit and Move Forward

“Stay away from what might have been and look at what can be.” ~Marsha Petrie Sue

When I look back at some of the most painful moments of my life, I see myself sitting alone, feeling either immense shame or regret.

It’s bizarre how we can get so offended and angry when other people hurt us, and yet repeatedly choose to torture ourselves, far worse than they possibly could, through repeated mental rehashing.

For the longest time, my biggest regret revolved around missing out on life.

From a distance, people always thought I had everything going for me. Up close, you could see the cracks in that facade: No matter what I got, I was painfully discontent and depressed, and often isolated in fear.

I remember my last night in NYC at twenty-five, sitting in a tiny boxed-up efficiency studio apartment that I rented in a low-income building. I’d been in the apple for two and a half years, and my greatest accomplishments were barely noticeable to anyone but myself.

Granted, they were big ones: I’d quit smoking, formed a yoga practice, and began the slow uphill climb to liking who I was.

But the list of what I didn’t do often felt far more compelling: I didn’t form many real friendships, I never had a storybook NYC romance like I dreamed about, and I never even once auditioned for a play after growing up on the stage.

I went to NYC to convince the world I was strong, then I broke into a million little pieces and, in stubborn resistance to “giving up,” spent two years trying to glue myself back together.

For a long time I regretted that I went to the city where dreams come true and did absolutely nothing to go after mine. Then I realized something: I was not that girl anymore, and in another second, I would again be someone new.

At any moment I could let go of the weight of who I’d been and allow myself a better chance of becoming who I wanted to be.

What I did or didn’t do could either paralyze me further or motivate me to do something now—something not conceived in reaction to past disappointments but born completely anew from a moment of strength and empowerment.

We can all do that. At any time, you can take your regrets and:

1. Identify and address your weaknesses.

When we acknowledge our weaknesses, there’s often an implied sense of judgment, as if we should never make any mistakes. The alternative is to accept that everyone makes mistakes and then focus on what we can do differently going forward.

For me, that meant discovering why I was so afraid of putting myself out there. The rewards of learning to conquer that fear in the present far outweigh the pain of having given into it in the past.

2. Use your mistake as a teaching tool.

In my time writing for ‘tweens, I read many letters from girls who’ve learned to beat themselves up by watching their parents’ response to mistakes. If you forgive yourself and bounce right back, you empower your children to respond the same way.

If you’re like me and don’t have any children, think of it as helping everyone around you. I know when I see someone fall down and get back up without stressing over what they could have done differently, I feel inspired. It reminds me that it is possible, and I can do it too.

3. Use the opportunity to become better at adapting.

Most big mistakes present instant changes to reality as you know it. When I first arrived in NYC at twenty-two, I got involved in a pyramid scam, thinking it was a shortcut to success, and blew through my savings. What’s worse, I unknowingly pulled other people into a sinking ship that went under, with their money.

I couldn’t believe I’d been so naïve. I couldn’t change what I’d done, but I could take my new set of circumstances and challenges and plan a strategy to get back where I wanted to be. Any time we practice adapting, we create the possibility of happiness that doesn’t depend on perfect conditions.

4. Strengthen your ability to focus on things you can control.

If you cheated on your boyfriend after one too many margaritas, you probably wish you could go back and show more restraint. Unfortunately, what you should have done is now irrelevant. All you can do is move forward from where you are.

This is an invaluable skill because it empowers us to take positive action instead of falling into a shame cycle.

5. Embrace impermanence.

Everything in life is impermanent. While I’m not thrilled when my actions end a relationship or good situation, this reminds me to appreciate everyone and everything in the moment. There are no guarantees in life—even if I make very few mistakes.

6. Evaluate your relationships.

Think of this as your It’s a Wonderful Life moment. You’re down on your luck and vulnerable. You have to do some major life restructuring to rebound from whatever you just experienced. Are your friends there for you, offering forgiveness and support—even if it takes them a little time to get there? If not, this may be a perfect time to remove unhealthy relationships from your life.

This may also give you a chance to strengthen your relationships. If you hurt someone else, take this opportunity to discover what really motivated your actions and then let yourself get vulnerable with them. We’re all human, and nothing brings us together like acknowledging our universal struggles.

7. Get better at accepting responsibility.

I know many people who would sooner donate their organs to science than take responsibility. We’ve all passed the buck at one time or another, because it’s a risk to admit culpability. Still, there’s something empowering about saying, “I screwed up, and I accept the consequences.”

8. Challenge your thinking.

There’s a quote that reads “Success is often the result of taking a misstep in the right direction.” If your mistake propels you toward a better future, then it’s actually a blessing in disguise. I realize mistakes oftentimes present challenges, but ultimately, you can only move forward if you find opportunities in your reality, whatever that may be.

The crazy thing about regret is that it seems imperative sometimes—as if we have to indulge it like a bed we made and now have to lie in. But there’s nothing compelling us to dwell on the way things could have been. The only thing that keeps us stuck in lost possibilities is the refusal to focus on new ones.

Life is now, and we always have a choice: Do we drown in regret over what never came to be, or use our energy to create what can be? Today, I am choosing the latter.

About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha and Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. Her latest bookTiny Buddha's Gratitude Journal, which includes 15 coloring pages, is now available for purchase. For daily wisdom, follow Tiny Buddha on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram..

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  • Crystallynn1085

    I read your quotes everyday!! They are so inspiring and it seems like every quote that I read everyday is fitting for what’s going on in my life! Thank you so much!

  • thank you. saving the day today.

  • ggirl

    wow. this was deeply profound. a great one page summary on life. thanks!

  • Cassandra

    Thank you. Tiny Buddha so often posts the things I need to hear. Here’s my question, though. What if accepting blame, apologizing, taking responsibility and trying to do what I can to make the situation isn’t better? What if people misunderstand my motives and misinterpret why I did things? How does one rebuild trust? I know that these things take time. I know people need to have their feelings. And yet, I’m having a lot of difficulty with incorrect motives being assigned to me. And then there is my own guilt and sense of failure to contend with. I’m really struggling.

  • Hippiechick966

    The only thing you have control over is you, so accept that you have no control over other peoples perceptions of you and your actions. I have been struggling with this a lot lately, and it keeps getting reinforced that people will believe whatever they want to believe.

  • Minnie

    Some wise words and good advice. But I suspect that regret is easier to handle when one is in ones 20s and 30s, however horrendous the experiences may have seemed. Sorry this is kids stuff really. Try it later in life and it’s not so easy when time is running out… I know people who have made such impactful decisions, there’s no way forward when health and opportunities have diminished. I don’t know what to tell them

  • Christina

    This is good stuff! Even though my life is so much better than it used to be and I’m clearly making progress, I can see that the biggest thing still holding me back is regret. I *think* I”m slowly getting past all that, and the crucial moment happened when I was finally able to accept blame for the parts I played, forgive myself for them, and totally let go of the parts I had no control over.

    Guilt and regret was impacting my physical health, which started to improve as soon as I was finally able to put everything behind me. Sure, it still pops up in my mind from time to time, but I’m more and more able to either look at it dispassionately or with humor, or banish any negative thoughts altogether.

  • Hi Minnie,

    I can understand your perspective here–that it’s hard when you know you have less time. But that begs the question: do we ever really know how much time we have? I am in my 30s, so I can’t speak to what it feels like to be 60 and disappointed with the way I’ve spent my time. I do, however, know people in their 20s and 30s with potentially fatal diseases. Their time may be running out, too.

    My philosophy here is that all we can ever control is our attitude. It might be harder as we get older and pile up disappointments, but I suspect its the best way to change how often we’re disappointed going forward. Time may be running out, but as long as there’s time, we have a choice.

    Of course this is what I believe now, and I can’t say for certain it won’t change over time . Ask me again in 30 years and we’ll see where I stand!

    Thanks for reading and commenting.


  • Hi Christina,

    Congrats on the positive momentum! Your story sounds a lot like mine. Guilt and regret affected my physical and emotional well-being in a big way. I’m glad to hear you’ve made such amazing strides in your journey. Thanks for reading and commenting. =)


  • Hi Cassandra,

    I think you hit the nail on the head: it just takes time. And part of its also about acceptance. All we can do is explain ourselves to the best of our ability and then trust that in time, the people who care about us will forgive and understand that we may have made bad choices but we didn’t have bad intentions. Sometimes people just need to go through their own process at their own rate–and we don’t get a say in when they’re ready.

    I know that isn’t a very comforting thing to hear, but I’ve been in that place before. I tried to focus on the lesson of letting go of the things I can’t control. Once you’ve said your part, all you can do is allow space and time and accept that you can’t make people believe things they aren’t ready to believe.

    Still, that doesn’t mean you have to feel guilty until they’re ready to shift what they think. One thing I’m still learning is that how I feel about myself doesn’t have to parallel what other people feel about me. Just because someone else judges my choices that doesn’t mean I have to judge myself.

    I hope this helps a little.


  • You are most welcome. Thank you for reading!

  • Thank you for reading. =)

  • I’m so glad you enjoy Tiny Buddha! Thanks for reading and commenting. =)

  • Alyssa

    I just discovered this blog today and am a huge fan. I can literally remember every mistake and embarrassment of my life, but I never seem to dwell on the things I’ve accomplished. I need this sort of positive thinking in my life!



  • Hi Alyssa. Welcome to Tiny Buddha!

    I know that feeling well. I’ve also spent a lot of time dwelling on all types of tiny mistakes and embarrassments. Something I’ve been working on is counting my accomplishments at the end of the day. We always hear that we should count our blessings and I think that’s great advice–but we also need to remember that we are one of those blessings!

    Thanks for reading and commenting. =)


  • Mara

    Lovely article(!) as all the articles I’ve read since I’ve subscribed 🙂 thank you for sharing your experiences. I’m going through some major changes in my life and it is so easy to relate. Its very supportive and motivating feeling, that there are lots of people like me who want to bring calmness and joy into their live by understanding that only we, ourselves, impose constrains upon ourselves though fear, anger etc. which are generated by the continuous thinking of our minds but this is just another lesson to learn, a very important one, we either let ourselves to be controlled by emotions generated by our biased mind or to learn to cooperate with it by understanding it (as a result understanding ourselves and others). My latest epiphany was “Happiness requires training” which derived from a lot of “Practice, practice, practice” of meditation and finally realising that good things take time, as i experiencing already super positive results and can see a lot more on the horizon :))))

  • Robinkilburn

    this post seemed to be written just for me. my status on fb, written before I read this was” if your world crashes, learn the cause, pick up the pieces you want and get on with it”
    the struggle goes on but it is less of a burden.
    thank you Lori

  • I like that–pick up the pieces you want. It almost makes crashing sound valuable since you get to leave the pieces that you may no longer need. Thank you for sharing this!

  • Donna

    I enjoyed this post very much. Very thought provoking and the reading of it, well-timed. Thank you.

  • You’re most welcome. =)

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  • A bit late in responding but I really enjoyed this article. It helped me acknowledge the fact that there is nothing I can personally do about mistakes and the past. Regret is such a wasteful emotion, don’t you think? I would rather bask in the happy nostalgia of the past joy a situation brought; or give myself a pat on the back for giving the effort in a situation. The mistake of the past simply lets us know that what we did was wrong. If we were always right, what would be the fun and adventure in learning and discovering things about life?

    This is an article that I stumbled on at just the right moment. Thank you for writing this.

  • Well said! Regret doesn’t change anything that happened; it just limits what can happen now. Thanks for reading and sharing your perspective. =)

  • Canadiandude79

    I found this blog after doing a search on “regret”. My regret story is complicated – at least I feel it is complicated. Has to do with letting time slip away; not being in touch with some people, friends and then the few years became a decade, now two decades; I missed out on some great years – kids growing up etc. At the time, my guilt made me not take action; now I’m angry I missed out and had just done something at 10 years past; I was young myself, so I sorta try not to be hard on myself. but all I can say is it eats at me, kinda cuz its like you don’t know what you got till its gone. I’m trying to live today; but at the same time wondering what if…what if I had been more in “their life” back then. Hope this rambling makes sense. It’s one of those things that I know I can’t change. but it eats at me saying I wish I could travel back in time, and the anger of knowing I can’t. Almost like someone dying and you are angry you cant bring them back. The people aren’t dead, and I have re-connected, but I’m still angry about the time missed…and kids not knowing me because of it

  • Hi there,

    I can relate to what you wrote in a big way. There are certain stubborn beliefs that I held for years, and as a result, I missed out on certain things that I sometimes wish I could go back and re-experience. What helps me is to remember that every day I worry about what I missed, I am missing more. That thought pulls me back into the moment because, while we can never go back and change what we’ve done, we can do our best not to let any more days slip away.

    I hope this post helped you somewhat. You are in my thoughts!


  • Canadiandude79


    Thank you for the response and for saying I’m in your thoughts. It did help some; I think what you said does support how I’ve been trying to cope with it; I suppose it gets a bit easier each day – but not to minimize what you have said; your words HAVE given me new thoughts that will help.

    I think the only analogy I can use – and sidebar note is @ 20 there was no way I could have had this insight I don’t think, so I shouldn’t be so hard on myself – is falling asleep in 1986 lets just say, and waking up and it’s 2000 or even 1995… has carried on…the train of life has carried on;when you closed your eyes, the locomotive was right there in the window as you watched the train go by….now you open your eyes and the whole train has gone by, and in fact the train tracks aren’t even there anymore….they’ve lifted up the ties, the rails because they don’t use that railline anymore. meanwhile I’m sitting there wanting to see why I didn’t see the train go by; and people are using other means to get there.

    Imagine knowing a cousin err something like that as a young kid; then you kinda keep in touch…and time goes on but it always knaws at you what did they grow up like.

    In my case I know the person has grown up…but I missed 90% of their life….its just very very wierd…..but thanks for letting me ramble. I don’t know what to think whether there is a benefit in trying to know them… I could…it’s just very wierd. Whats done is done as for the past. Thanks again!

  • Perkinslisa35

    This post really helped me begin to deal with my past unwise decisions. I am a work in progress. Thank you for posting this..

  • Chelsea11Jean

    Hi Lori,
    Thanks for commenting to Minnie’s response. She was saying exactly what I was feeling. I’m 48yrs old and have been through really bad times being a molested, rape survivor and trying daily to overcome the way it has molded me and not having the proper upbringing to encourage me that I do have worth in this life and a grew up in a violent household due to an alcoholic father and co-dependent mother. I have no children..I became barren at the age of 21 when I got married to a man who used me for citizenship which of course ended with me divorcing him. I never got into a relationship again, I have no friends who care about me, family relationships are hateful and superficial, nobody loves me no matter how kind I am and how much I reach out, I feel like I’m cursed because of all these things, obstical after obstical. Now I find myself, having finally finished college in a position of not being able to work because of an accident that have damaged my back, 2 spine surgeries that have failed and I’m in pain all the time living on pain pills..and so many more things. I find myself daily dealing with depression and trying to find reasons to live. I’m in mental health therapy and on anti-depressants to help me through my life.
    My brother died in Jan 2010 (48yrs old) of heart disease and I wished so much that I could die and give my heart to him because his basket was getting full for once and had so much more to live for.
    I came to this site when I typed in google about looking for help. Your words really encouraged me because, I believe due to my healing from my trauma, I find myself in despair over the barreness of my life. It’s like I want to try to recoupe all the things that I missed out on, now that I’ve come into myself and am now feeling after being numb all my life.  And now I realize that I can’t recoupe it. I don’t have control over this. I can’t go back and live my life over again. I need to look at where I am now and look at who I am now and go from here. Lots of time has been lost and it’s gone forever, there is mourning in loss and it’s normal; that’s where I find myself today, but the days I have ahead, no matter how long, or short is what I have to deal with.  True we don’t know how much time we have. Each day is not promised to anyone..young or old. We all hope we have time to do all the things we want in this life, but as you said, it has to do with our individual attitudes because that is all we can control.  With the time we have left, moving forward, we have a choice of how we’re going to spend this time.
    I’m going to spend this time developing my talents. I can sing. I love musical arts. Now with my free time I will learn how to read music and play an instrument.
    Thank you for your help.

  • Hi Chelsea,

    Your story was heartbreaking to read, because you have been through so much and I wish I could take all that pain away from you. I’m glad that you found your way here and that you found this helpful. I think its wonderful you’re going to focus on your talents. I remember one day after I’d been singing in the shower, a neighbor told me they really enjoyed hearing me sing. It was an awkward moment, for sure, but it also made me think: sometimes we have no idea how we effect other people for the better. I’m sure your voice has made people smile more times than you realize. I hope you give that gift to many more people going forward. The world deserves a chance to know the beauty that only you can share.

    Sending you love and light,

  • Clementine

    It has been 8 months since my breakup and mostly this time has been spent in… regret. Suddenly, I stopped and thought: “I really need to stop feeling this way, where can I find help?” I googled and now I’m here with a new found sense of purpose and optimism to carry on with my life. It’s very simple, and for a long time the cycle seemed “unbreakable” but it is and I am just so grateful that someone somewhere took the time to write this 😀 Many blessings your way. 

  • You are most welcome, Clementine. I’m happy to help. Many blessings your way, as well!

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  • Live4now

    I really enjoyed this article although I am still in the stage of living yesterdays regrets I do feel after this read I am content to stop this cycle of beating myself up about what I should’ve, could’ve and now focus on today, tomorrow and the positive that is around me, because who knows if those decisions I made were really the wrong ones because I have so much that is wonderful around me.  I need to now focus on new possiblities and not be afraid to live in the now. Thank you

  • You’re most welcome. It sounds like you’re in a great mental place at the moment, shifting your focus to today. That’s great! I’m sending good thoughts your way. =)

  • Saajida Asmal1

    Hi lori just read ur post now . I am a 43 year old,divorced women.I grew up with my dads family bec my mum is mentally ill and my dad was on drugs who used to beat my mum. I grew up with no love. When I got married my husband cheated on me,sexually abused and beat me with a belt.I was maried for 12 years now divorced for 7 years.I am happy to be free from my abuse . My daughter and son live with my exhusband and his new wife. My only regret is that I did not do more to get my children to stay with me. Now they are grown and I haved missed out on them .they now choose to live with their dad . Although I am a teacher I come home to an empty flat and miss my children very much. I beat myself up everyday for this regret .my kids don’t live in the same town as I and I rarely see them

  • Hi Saajida,

    I can only imagine how difficult all this must have been to you, to have witnessed what you did growing up, and then experienced abuse in your own marriage. I can understand why it would be distressing to live without your children. Are you still able to see them regularly?

    You are in my thoughts!


  • Roryboss

    Not a good review,I just left my grandfathers death bed with so much things to say and so much to hear from hear,neither of those things will ever happen now.This is a regret that I will have the burden of for the rest of my life.

  • Roryboss

     Not a good review,I just left my grandfathers death bed with so much
    things to say and so much to hear.This is a regret that I will have the burden of for the
    rest of my life.

  • I’m so sorry for your loss Roryboss. 

  • Roland Mirabueno

    This is an awesome post. I just finished writing my own tips about this and I guess I should’ve read this as well! 

  • I’m glad you enjoyed this Roland!

  • anon

    Yes, when you become old one’s regrets and failures are indeed a terrible burden, there is no solution but to stoically accept responsibility for being selfish, cruel and even cowardly, pain is your punishment, I try to help the weak and vulnerable now that the hour glass is dwindling, but I wish I had done it all my useless life.

  • That breaks my heart, to think you believe you have to feel pain as your punishment. I’m sure you did the best you could, even if you made mistakes in the past. I think it’s wonderful that you try to help people now. I know this may not mean much considering how little I know about you, but based on what you wrote, it seems like your life is far from useless.

  • huma

    hello…..i was sitting drowned in regret for not working hard in my exam….ur article helped me….thanx

  • I’m so glad it helped! =)

  • Janet

    How can regret be handled when your in a relationship that reminds us ofour past everyday. I am a mother, was married at 17, never enjoyed my life, no work, no school.

  • Do you enjoy any of our life now?

  • Janet

    No, I’m actually in a new relationship. Is hard to communicate with the trust has been broken.

  • Elizabeth

    I found your article when I googled “When are the mistakes of my past going to quit hurting my children.” I was married to an abusive man for 15 years til I got the courage to leave. Took my four children with me. Within months I fell in love with an awesome KIND man who loves me and my children and I had 3 more children with him. My seven children love each other. My mistake: I allowed my oldest two children to go live with their father within the first six months of me leaving him – that was 2004. He was such a smooth operator and I was so naive. He created divorce papers that stated the children could come back and forth as they wanted to either parent within reason (a year at a time), said he was sorry for all the abuse, it was his fault not mine, he was a new person, it changed his life me leaving him, etc, etc. I was in love at the time, full of dopamine (heard a preacher say thats what goes on in our brain chemistry when we fall in love), he even wanted to be friends with my new love. I was 33 tgoing on 14. I married him when I was 19 – to basically show my dad that he couldn’t tell me what to do anymore – brilliant, I know. I badly wanted my own family as my dad was a hot head and my step mom very abusive. My mom was okay, just selfish and had left when I was 8. Anyway – we signed the papers – me high on life – thinking this was restoration from God, Beauty for the Ashes. My ex really sorry – wanting me to be happy. My son who was 9 and daughter who was 7 both wanted to live with their daddy. My son said he would hate me if I didn’t let him go, he missed his daddy. I never wanted to take away my ex’s life, nor my kids Dad. I just wanted him to stop being abusive. And to my knowledge “then” he hadnt been abusive to them. So I let my son go. My daughter went a few months later – she was daddy’s girl – I was so devastated they wanted to go, but the only thing my ex and I had ever agreed on was that if we ever divorced we wouldn’t force our children to stay with one parent or the other – we would always give them a choice – unlike what we both had growing up – no choice. Boy was I an idiot. Within a year he beat the hell out of both of them leaving saucer size bruises. Got emergency custody – he got a lawyer – I didn’t think I needed one – he got the whole thing thrown out because his lawyer said I filed in the wrong county. Next thing you know the police are hauling my children off to the bastard who beat them – bruises and all. I was stunned and sick. He then kept them from me a whole year as I waited for a court date to try and get custody – I lost. 10k later for a lawyer for me, a guarden ad litem (spelling) for my kids, the redneck polk county judge said the kids were fine where they were, they had A’s, and for my ex not to touch them again. I saw them for one weekend as the judge told him to resume visitation immediately “this weekend”. Then my ex kept the from me AGAIN. Three months later we get to court and the judge asks him why he didn’t resume visitation and he tells him I did – you said for the weekend. Of course the judge clarified he meant rotating weekends and not to do it again or he would hold him in contempt. Ever since then my kids have been abused emotionally, and just found out – over the years he continued to beat them – which they kept from me out of fear. Their younger two siblings live with me. They all four stick together during visitation weekends. I did win that part in court. So here we are all these years later. He is emotionally abusive to them on a daily basis. My son – who is an A student – is an Idiot with no goals, and my daughter is a whore and a slut! Now what can I do about it? Watch…listen… cry and beat myself up for being an idiot. If I make waves, he keeps them from me, turns off the phones, refuses to see the younger two. They want to come live with me but can’t. What court, especially in redneck polk county florida, is going to go against a fellow good ole’ boy whose ex wife is out to wreck his reputation. I have read case after case of women losing cases to abusive men in Florida. So what do I do with my regret – I watch my children pay every day for it. People say go to court. Once I file, he will not let me see them. Period. My son is 16, daughter 14. The two that live with me are daughter 13 and son 10. He sacrifices seeing them, to keep me from the oldest two to keep me in line. Its brilliant – it works. Others say – they are old enough – they have a voice. My 16 year old is going to be 17 and counting the days til 18. My 14 year old daughter is scared for him to leave her. Yet she is scared to hurt her dad as he told them both in the past couple months after he verbally assaulted them that if they wanted to go live with their f…ng mom go ahead and he would write all of them off and go home to Texas waving F..k you all. Briliant manipulation once again. So I married and had children with a sociopath. He is like the movie “sleeping with the enemy”. Yet he has a silver tongue and is very believable to strangers, including judges and pastors. He convinced a pastor who I had known since I was a little girl, within 15 minutes, that I was having an affair – the pastor told me I need to quit lying and fess up. BLEW MY MIND! So how in the world do I help my children – talk about the sins of the fathers being visited upon their children… My kids are the living example of my stupidity and big heart. Wanting to believe he had really finally changed…. So if a judge knowingly gave them back with bruises he told my ex he felt confident my ex inflicted on them, how is a judge going to rule in my favor on just emotional abuse, and how am I supposed to even prove it when in Florida judged “frown” on putting children on the stand…I don’t know what to do except tell my children I am so sorry I put them in this situation. I apologize all the time. They tell me it alright. Its not my fault – that their dad does this to them. Still – everyone told me not to let them go – yet I felt 110% that it was what I was supposed to do – that God was behind my decision – meanwhile I bawled like a baby doing it – I just wanted to give them the choice my dad never ever let me have. I am going to get a psychologist to try and counsel me and my children. I have to do this on the down low as he has forbid them to go to counseling…Some advise me to file for custody, let him flip, tell them to stand up to him, take a beating and then maybe the judge will rule in our favor – REALLY?? How can I tell my kids to take another beating in the hopes a judge will rule on our side… Besides it didn’t count before anyway. Others tell me to get DCF involved and the police. I did back then, both of them told me quote “We can’t do anything unless there is blood or scars, bruising does not count.” I was told this in the orlando police station – we even showed the officer the bruises. So how do I help my children now – say they can’t get out – what can I do to help them survive and not break…how can I live with myself. They have forgiven me – but I can’t…

  • Hi Elizabeth,

    I am so sorry to hear about what you’ve been through. I can only imagine how difficult this has been. I’m at a complete loss for words, as I really don’t know what I would do if I were in your shoes. I don’t know much about how the court system works, and I don’t have experience with sociopaths.

    I know this is likely an obvious suggestion, but have you looked into resources/hotlines specifically geared toward people dealing with domestic violence?

    I wish I could do more to help. My heart really goes out to you…


  • love lee

    I’m a female in my early 40’s and I regret ruining a relationship with a great guy due to my trust issues and insecurities I had at the time. It’s been two years since then, a few short term relationships later, that didn’t turn out well…and I rereminded again how i screwed up the best thing that came into my life. He has since moved on and is happily involved with someone for over a year now. I wouldn’t deny him his happiness and wouldn’t ever contact him again. I made the ending quite chaotic, he wouldn’t want any part of me again anyway. What I would do to have him and the experience all over again and to do things differently. I’m having a difficult time believing there are any guys like him or better out there right now….and sometimes when I’m feeling gloomy, I get in fairytale land I guess, and just with he would return.

  • Nitin sharma

    Hey lori, its a beautiful post 🙂
    i have just 1 regret. People close to me leaves me saying that i am over possessive. I care for them n they just leave me saying i can never change, i have started hating myself for who i am. I keep on crying every second how they might be doing, is everything ohk in there life. But no one see me crying. Is it really so bad to care for others? I just wanna get rid off myself. I tried many things to overcome but nothing helped. Is there any hope for me? I don’t think so 🙁 tough i love dis post. I’ll keep it in mind.

  • I’m so sorry to hear you’re hurting like this. Of course there is hope for you! What things have you tried to overcome your possessiveness?

  • anna

    I thought many times before getting into your web site. I thought you were a scam. My sincere apologies. I contacted you because my personal life was upside down. My husband for 5 years was going in the wrong direction. He got attracted by a mysterious woman at work, and moved with her for 4 months. I told you my problem, and after a couple of weeks I received your package things started to be as before. He came back to our house saying he doesn’t know what happened, and he was sorry about leaving. Our relationship is stronger than ever. Thanks

  • hope98

    Hello Lori,is there a way to communicate with you..and seek any advice?pls let me know.


  • Hi there – A great place to get advice is in the newly launched forums:

    By posting in there you can seek advice from anyone who can relate to your experiences.

    You can sign up here:

    You can communicate with me personally there or here.


  • hope98

    Thanks Lori.
    How about I’d I wanna share and ask just you.?

  • I can do my best to help! I started the forums partly because I get a lot of requests for advice through emails and comments, and I know there are a lot of insightful people in the community here who could also help. So if you’d like to share your thoughts here, feel free, or you could reach out to others there.

  • Jo23

    I know this is an older article and not sure if you’re still reading comments! However today its very relevant for me.

    The problem I have is that I understand all the points your making, they are helpful and I agree. But I still can’t stop feeling the regret and being so sad and angry – greiving basically. I have let my entire 20s go by living in a part of the world I really didn’t want to be – because I wasn’t brave enough to move when my partner didn’t want to. I have really struggled where we live, its not the right place for me. Whenever I tried to talk to him about it he made me feel ungrateful, naive, guilty, any number of bad things. I am now turning 30 and am finally brave enough to go and have let him know its with or without him. But I feel like I’m finally starting to live my own life at 30 and have missed out on all the great possibilities that were there for me – and now there isn’t time. I can’t travel the world and build a career now – I have achieved neither to date – and now I have to choose one or the other to prioritise before kids come along and tie me down for good! I can’t stop beating myself up about it and I can’t get past the resentment I have towards my partner and myself.
    Articles like this really do help but I’m not sure if the regret ever goes away?

  • I am still reading comments! I think regret goes away when we make peace with the present. I know you mentioned you’re planning to start a family soon, but is there any way to also do the other things you want to do? Could you travel a little by planning some short trips? Could you start working on a passion and see where that leads you?

  • annointed grimalia

    its your opportunity to restore your love and achieve your heart desire emotionally.
    i Marian dosi a medical by profession, have be single for the past 4 years.
    To me, having a man that will suit me and a man of enviable class was like a dream i can never achieve. But on November 24th 2011 when i meet the ANOINTED DR GRIMALIA, i sent him a mail which consist of my problems.. he replied me with the necessary things i need to do help solve my problems. lo and behold now, i am married to a well known Canadian a professor of English. and men of different high class are still begging to come close.
    i strongly believe that, this is your time testify, achieve and have the man or woman that you desire only with the help of DR GRIMALIA
    its your opportunity to restore your love and achieve your heart desire emotionally.
    i Marian dosi a medical by profession, have be single for the past 4 years.
    To me, having a man that will suit me and a man of enviable class was like a dream i can never achieve. But on November 24th 2011 when i meet the ANOINTED DR GRIMALIA, i sent him a mail which consist of my problems.. he replied me with the necessary things i need to do help solve my problems. lo and behold now, i am married to a well known Canadian a professor of English. and men of different high class are still begging to come close.
    i strongly believe that, this is your time testify, achieve and have the man or woman that you desire only with the help of DR GRIMALIA
    its your opportunity to restore your love and achieve your heart desire emotionally.
    i Marian dosi a medical by profession, have be single for the past 4 years.
    To me, having a man that will suit me and a man of enviable class was like a dream i can never achieve. But on November 24th 2011 when i meet the ANOINTED DR GRIMALIA, i sent him a mail which consist of my problems.. he replied me with the necessary things i need to do help solve my problems. lo and behold now, i am married to a well known Canadian a professor of English. and men of different high class are still begging to come close.
    i strongly believe that, this is your time testify, achieve and have the man or woman that you desire only with the help of DR GRIMALIA

  • Bene

    I was crushed when my lover of three years left to be with another woman. I cried and sobbed every day, until it got so bad that I reached out to the Internet for help. I threw away so much money – all for nothing – until I hit on the real thing. And that is you, Dr. Lametu. You were different from all the rest – you are the diamond in the rough. Thank you from the depths of my soul! I am extremely happy now. I hope God blesses you as much as He has blessed me. Meet him for real help via

  • Marc Gold

    This was actually very helpful. I copied the article and eliminated the advice sections, and typed out what I was going through into each section. Things seem much clearer now. Thanks!

  • depressed person

    Hi, I’m in my college years and my situation is that every after quizzes and exams I regret too much, thinking what I could’ve answered in that question, like those things. Guilt, hopelessness, I hate myself so much! My mind’s always like “You could’ve studied more you know, you might have answered those if you did!” I study, but it’s always not enough…I feel so inferior to my classmates who keep getting good results. Why can’t I be like them?

  • Simon

    This has helped me a lot, but I have long way to go. I have done something I regret and it is torturing me everyday. Its turning me into an emotional wreck and gut wrenching. I have definitely learnt my lesson and more about the person I want to be. I’ve learnt that I should treat others how I expect to be treated and to be less selfish (amongst a million other things).

    I have read other people’s posts on here, and I also feel their pain. A lot of it seems to stem from the fact that we all wish we could turn the clocks back and do things differently.

    I’m trying to decide how to move forward now. Hopefully, as a better person than before. This post can be a reminder to myself of this.

  • I’m glad this helped, Simon! I know it can be tough to forgive yourself. Sometimes it just takes time.

  • Natalie

    I really feel good with myself after reading and analyzing what I did wrong which was cheating on a test, besides you really give great advice

  • I’m glad this helped, Natalie!

  • Nicole

    Hey Simon, Your post spoke the most to me and I guess I just wanted to check in and see if you’ve forgiven yourself in these last months? or are looking at the positives. My regret is still fresh and your words rang true. If you’re feeling better, I could too. any inspiration to give?
    If not, good luck to you. Remember that you’re not the only one. Not by a long shot


  • Ria

    I found this article because I’m sick with shame over taking action on vengeful thoughts. The skinny: I was in a toxic and violent relationship with a man that ended 6 weeks ago. I was doing well, keeping my boundaries and learning to move on, when I mistakenly contacted him to wish him a merry Christmas. What ensued was me operating from my lowest self: I went over to his house, waited for him to return, we talked and cried and slept together. There was some acting as though there was possibility of repair, although I knew in my gut there wasn’t: he was bad for me. How bad and toxic I didn’t really understand until I sunk low enough to send a lengthy email to his new girlfriend ‘warning’ her about him. After sending it, I realized the truth was that I wanted to hurt him in every way imagine able. I wished I could take it back. Attempts at apologizing we’re met with anger (rightly deserved) on her part, which only adds to my regret.

  • Ria

    I don’t know how to move through it past this. I’m so depressed I can’t get out of bed.

  • palmeria

    I don’t know if you’ll see this nearly a year later. But you will find that kind of man/relationship again. I promise. Only this time, you’ll recognize it, and you will appreciate it and act…I guess act and be how you “should have been” in that previous relationships. You’ll love better, be more open, and handle fights, arguments, insecurity, all that stuff differently. I say this because it happened to me. 🙂

  • zarraE

    So true. I get lost all the time in “what might have been”….or why didnt I make a different decision….It is of a form of self doubt. It will plague you until you can breakthrough trying to change things in the past. I mean, I’m young and I should not feel like my life is over because I wished I’d done something that I didn’t. We all have BRIGHT futures….we just need to see them. We need to get over the past somehow, so that we can reach our full potential. Don’t let anyone hold you back. As hard as it is to let something that you wish could be different go , we must do it because the past is the past and is dead and gone. the future is what we need to pour our energy into planning!!! I realize now that the past is the enemy we are fighting and the future is the bright sunshine which awaits us. Sometimes I forget…We will not live forever!!! Do what you want in life and let nothing and no one change that.

  • SSFF

    Wow this article is dated from 3 yrs ago and its still getting responses because its so helpful! Lori, if you still read responses and answer, hope you can help with my dilemma too
    I’m a woman in my early 30’s, in my early 20’s, I went to study abroad (to the US) and spent almost a decade working and enjoying a great life being independent before returning back to my country, due to visa issues. At that time, I did not realize what a big change I was making in my life. Once I was back, I worked in my field for awhile but hated the culture change, and quit my job to take a break. After which I opted for a more creative field and started work within the family for our clothing store.
    Its been 3.5 yrs since, and I’ve gone back to the US for a visit since then, and I repeatedly feel that I made a huge mistake by coming back home, especially when I see my friends and peers living the life, and back home, even though I love my new work, I feel its more that I latched on to this work because I didn’t know what else to do and I don’t really take a monthly salary (it would be nowhere near to what I earned before anyways), just spend what I need to, so I feel like at the stage where I should be super independent and earn a lot of money (like my peers are doing), I’m mooching off my family and parents instead. It makes me feel like a failure, and I’m just not able to shake that feeling off that I made a huge mistake and keep thinking of how I can go back to the States only. Also, I feel its too late now for all this, I’m already at a point where I should be more settled, in my life and career, instead of flitting back and forth like this
    Any advice on how I can gain all my old confidence back and move on from this regret?

  • Hi there,

    I’m glad this was helpful to you! I will do my best to offer advice on what you wrote. It sounds like you’re stuck in two ways:

    -You’re thinking life would have been better if you hadn’t left the US
    -You’re feeling like you can’t change your life going forward because it’s “too late” now.

    Perhaps it would help to change your perception and challenge your thoughts/beliefs.

    Instead of focusing on what you think you lost because you left the US, perhaps you could shift your focus to what you may have gained.

    Is there anything you learned in the last few years? Anything this time has taught you to appreciate? Did you form any new insights about yourself? If you can view the time that’s passed as somehow beneficial for your growth, it will be easier to accept the past instead of regretting it.

    It will also be easier to do this if you realize you are not stuck now–you can take what you’ve learned and act on it. There’s no rule book that says when you need to be settled. And really, what good is it to be settled if you’re settled in a situation you’re not happy with?

    So that’s my advice: focus on what you’ve learned from this experience, and then ask yourself how you can use what you learned to improve your life going forward.

    I hope this helps!

  • LDH

    We cannot change the past…We can however change how we feel about the past…by changing how we feel about the past…we change what the past or various events of the past mean to us…so in way we can can change the past.

  • Becky Salami

    1 Hello people on this forum or website , am just an over exerting person today for what this great man call DR ABULU of has just done in my marital life .and i will like you on this forum to help me in thanking he because for the past two years my husband Micheal has been cheating on me with a Russian lady and this has couse the family a lot of problems and our baby Evonne where the one perpetual taking the pain because at this time my husband don’t normally come home to ask after the child or care to provide what the child needed so with all this problems i was not happy in my marriage and i started going for different kind of marriage cancelling and looking for solution every where not until this faithful day when i was browsing on the internet i saw a testimony shared by miss Michell from Australia about this DR ABULU of and i as-lo contacted he for help and that was how he gave me some instructions and i followed what ever he told me,and i was surprise when he said to me go my child for all will be fine in 24 hours .and within the 24 hours i actually received a call from my husband who has not called me for some months now asking after the child and i . and that was how was the end of my marriage problems . so this is why i promise to testify to the whole world about this man DR ABULU and if any is also depress with such problems contact he and you will also find success

  • David

    Man I wish I would have read this article when I was young. There were so many problems happened in my life that I felt I could have dealt with them better. Unfortnately, it’s already too late. I’ve learnt that if I wasn’t so misguided and naive when I was young, I would be in a better position for the future that I envisioned and won’t be contemplating about my past. Therefore, I strongly suggest that young kids should take a earlier step and read this as well. At least they can turn their lives around and stop following the footsteps of the mistakes that I made.
    “Lost time is never found again” -Benjamin Franklin

  • Hi David,

    It breaks my heart to think you think it’s too late for you. Why do you feel that way?


  • This is a lovely article. Thank you so much. 🙂

  • Thank you, and you’re most welcome! 🙂

  • What a fantastic and relevant post. It’s all about self-love, you’ll get nowhere if you can’t at least say to yourself, “I am a work in progress, I may not be where I want to be, but I’m on the right path” Thank you for your insights!

  • Adi

    Hi Lori, I know this is late, but I’m a 20 year old and I have taken some important decisions in my life that I do regret. Don’t get me wrong, I’m in a good place now, in a good college and all… But I can’t help but always go back to the if’s and buts. Those thoughts take up my day, and at some point I just lost my will to go on fighting because it hurts me a lot. That’s why I just try and go into my shell as much as possible. But thanks to your article, I gained a bit of hope back, that I guess everything does happen for a reason and I will find a way out of this darkness. I may be alone now, but everything will be better. So thank you SO MUCH for this, to help me move on and forgive myself and others!

  • I’m glad this helped you, Adi! You’re so young and you have your whole life ahead of you. Things will indeed be better, and you will know you had good reason to hold onto hope. =)

  • Craig

    I love your article so much but i have one question for you. Can you tell me how to deal with missed chance with the i like and who liked me too

  • How To Stop A Divorce And Save Your Marriage?

    My name is Nakita Shelton,am from California in USA.i want to use this opportunity to thank my great doctor who really made my life a pleasurable one today. This great man Dr.Brave brought my husband back to me, i had three lovely kids for my husband, about four years ago i and my husband has been into one qaurrel or the other until he finally left me for one lady. i felt my life was over and my kids thought they would never see their father again. i tried to be stronge just for the kids but i could not control the pains that torments my heart, my heart was filled with sorrows and pains because i was really in love with my husband. Every day and night i think of him and always wish he would come back to me, until one day i met a good friend of mine that was also in a situation like me but her problem was her ex-boyfriend who she had an unwanted pregnancy for and he refused to take responsibility and dumped her. she told me that mine was a small case and that i should not worry about it at all, so i asked her what was the solution to my problems and she gave me this great man email address. i was doubting if this man was the solution, so i contacted this great man and he told me what to do and i deed them all, he told me to wait for just two day and that my husband will come crawlling on his kneels just for forgiveness so i faithfully deed what this great man asked me to do and for sure after two days i heard a knock on the door, in a great suprise i saw him on his kneels and i was speechless, when he saw me, all he did was crying and asking me for forgiveness, from that day, all the pains and sorrows in my heart flew away,since then i and my husband and our lovely kids are happy.thats why i want to say a big thank you to Dr.Brave. This great man made me to understand that there is no problem on earth that has no solution so please if you know that you have this same problem or any problem that is similar, i will advise you to come straight to this great man. you can email him CONTACT HIM NOW FOR SOLUTION TO ALL YOUR PROBLEMS.

  • Some Dude

    All vague and general.

  • Old Man in Hell

    I wish I had read something like this–or more to the point, had the sense and the courage and integrity to benefit from something like this–40 or 45 years ago when it might have guided me to a good life. I’m almost 64 and have much to regret, not things others have done to me but the many bad choices I’ve made and wrongs I have done to others. For whatever reason my regrets have been overwhelming me over the last month or two. Maybe it was the approach of Father’s Day and the realization that I was such a lousy father, so many opportunities wasted to be a good example and to share joyful times with my children, and now it is too late. Well, maybe I can do some good as a horrible example, if anyone reads this.

    “Anon” expressed it well a year ago: “Yes, when you become old one’s regrets and failures are indeed a terrible burden, there is no solution but to stoically accept responsibility for being selfish, cruel and even cowardly, pain is your punishment.”

  • I’m so sorry to hear about the pain you’re in. There’s very little that cuts as deeply as regret, and I can tell you’re being really hard on yourself.

    Out of curiosity, what advice might you offer to your best friend or brother, if he said to you what you wrote here? If someone you loved was being hard on themselves for their mistakes, in this same way, and said that it’s too late for them, what words of wisdom would you share?

  • Mullar Sharron

    Hi everyone act there.. my name is MULLAR SHARRON I AM FROM GERMANY i will never forget the help DR.TRUST render to me in my marital life. i have been married for 5 years now and my husband and i love each other very dearly . after 3 years of our marriage my husband suddenly change he was having an affair with a lady outside,i notice it then i was praying for divine intervention the thing became more serious i told my pastor about it we prayed but nothing happen. my husband just came home one day he pick up his things and left me and the kids to his mistress outside at this time i was confuse not knowing what to do again because i have lost my husband and my marriage too. i was searching for help in the internet, i saw many people sharing testimony on how help them out with their marital problems so i contacted the email of i told him my problem and i was told to be calm that i have come to the right place were i can get back my husband within the next 24hours.he told me what went wrong with my husband and how it happen.that they will restored my marriage. to my greatest surprise my husband came to my office begging me on his knees that i should find a place in my heart to forgive him,that he will never cheat on me again. i quickly ask him up that i have forgiven him.friends your case is not too hard why don’t you give a try they work surprises because i know they will help you to fix your relationship with your ex partner. i thank god for using to save my marriage. contact him via (ULTIMATESPELLCAST@GMAIL.COM OR ULTIMATESPELLCAST@YAHOO.COM) tel +2348156885231

  • Beth

    I am struggling with regret because I really screwed up my twenties. I just turned 30 a couple of months ago and I am so lost and lonely. My biggest regret I think is not letting myself fall in love. I had so many opportunities with great guys that pursued me, but I kept them all at arm’s length (it’s a long story). I’ve had two long term relationships in my life and I was always dating until about 26 and then I isolated myself, hiding from the world because I felt like such a loser (I hadn’t graduated college, was working as a server, and felt like I had no real friends). It’s so sad because I was so gorgeous and young, and I just squandered it because I felt so bad about myself. I rarely ever went out, but every time I did, I would meet a guy. It didn’t go anywhere, but I know that had I just socialized more and put myself out there a bit, I could have very easily gotten into a relationship, with pretty much any guy that I wanted. Now I am 30, I have finished college, but I still haven’t gotten very far. I feel like I’ve lived such a sheltered life and missed out on so much. I’ve been pining away for love for years, and now my chances of finding it are getting lower and lower. I just can’t help regretting not taking all the opportunities that I had in my twenties, for love, friendship, school, my career. Everything. I screwed up every part of my life. I didn’t do a single thing right. I have been in love three times and I’ve had good relationships, but I always stayed with the safe, comfortable guys, and I ran away from the ones that gave me real butterflies. I did the same thing with friends and with my life in general. I was too scared and on some level I felt like I didn’t deserve them. Obviously I have self esteem issues. And it especially hurts because it was right there in front of me for years, all I had to do was reach out and grab it, but I took it for granted and missed my chance. I know I could still find a boyfriend now, but it will never be the same. This is what I keep dwelling on. I spent my twenties being shy and timid about my life, running away from anything that scared me, and that’s why my my sucks now. You have to be a little bit scared in order to grow and get the things you want in life. I just think that now that I’m 30, getting those things will be so much harder. I struggle with all the chances and opportunities that I didn’t take. I spend my late twenties staying in all the time, alone, living like an old lady. What a tragic waste of youth and beauty. And I’ll never get it back. I’m afraid that I’ll regret that for the rest of my life.

  • Hi Beth,

    I’m so sorry to hear about what you’ve been through and the pain you’ve felt as a result. As someone who also isolated myself my years, I think I understand what you’re feeling. But let me ask you this: Is there anything you learned because of your experience in your twenties that will help you going forward–that maybe you can use to help others?

    Running this site has helped me make peace with my past because I’ve made it all useful–and that makes me feel proud (a nice change from the shame I felt when I was younger).

    Perhaps you can find some way to leverage your past for good, as well. Until you do, try to go easy on yourself. It’s not that you didn’t do anything “right.” It’s that life is hard, you were scared and struggled, like so many of us do, and now you’re finding the courage to make choices that you previously struggled to make.

    It may help to imagine what you’d say to a close friend in your shoes. Odds are, you’d empathize with her past and offer encouragement for the future. If your friend would deserve that, don’t you?

    I hope this helps a little. You are in my thoughts!


  • sandy

    Hi Lori

    I am struggling with feelings of regret, doubt and inferiority every day at the minute, mostly to do with what I am going to do with my life. I am 23 and finished university 2 years ago, and have pretty much drifted since then, losing my discipline and so much confidence it is unreal. I have made a choice to withdraw from a teacher training course mostly because I don’t feel ready for it mentally, and that I need to experience more in life before committing to such a demanding (and expensive course). I really don’t want to disappoint my parents who are the centre of my world, my best friends. They want me to do the course, but when I wake up every day highly anxious, unexcited about the course and with zero appetite, I feel that my body is telling me that it is isn’t the right step yet.

    In my own view, I feel I need to do my practical things to increase my confidence and get myself back on track before going onto such a big career, and like many other posters on this site, most people wouldn’t recognise that I am unhappy and unfulfilled because I hide it so well. I am conscious of the fact that it seems like I am running away as I have often done in the past, but now I feel in a place where I really need to start off slow to re-take control of my life. I’m just worrying about the consequence of my decision and telling the people I care about.

    Thanks for your article, It gave me a lot of good ideas!

  • sandy

    Hi Lori

    Thanks for the great article, it gave me lot’s of good ideas!

    I am struggling with feelings of regret, doubt and
    inferiority every day at the minute, mostly to do with what I am going
    to do with my life. I am 23 and finished university 2 years ago, and
    have pretty much drifted since then, losing my discipline and so much
    confidence it is unreal. I have made a choice to withdraw from a teacher
    training course mostly because I don’t feel ready for it mentally, and
    that I need to experience more in life before committing to such a
    demanding (and expensive course). I really don’t want to disappoint my
    parents who are the centre of my world, my best friends. They want me to
    do the course, but when I wake up every day highly anxious, unexcited
    about the course and with zero appetite, I feel that my body is telling
    me that it is isn’t the right step yet.

    In my own view, I feel I need to do my practical things to increase my confidence and get myself
    back on track before going onto such a big career, and like many other
    posters on this site, most people wouldn’t recognise that I am unhappy
    and unfulfilled because I hide it so well. I am conscious of the fact
    that it seems like I am running away as I have often done in the past,
    but now I feel in a place where I really need to start off slow to
    re-take control of my life. I’m just worrying about the consequence of
    my decision and telling the people I care about.

    Thanks again, I just found this site and it is full of positive steps to take in life!

  • Hi Sandy,

    You’re most welcome. I’m glad it helped! I think it’s great that you were able to follow your intuition, and that you have a sense of what you need to do to get back on track.

    I think the post-college years are difficult for all of us, because it can be so challenging to get a sense of what you want to do, and it can feel overwhelming to begin the process of doing it. At least, that’s how it was for me.

    Perhaps it will help to remember these things (which I wish I considered when I was your age):

    -There’s no set timeframe for doing anything. You truly can do things in your own time without having to worry about being “behind.” Sometimes it’s the things we do that feel like “stalling” or “getting off track” that end up being the most helpful for our growth.

    -The best way to find direction is to trust your instincts, as opposed to forcing yourself to do things because you think you “should.” Your intuition is a powerful compass, and even if you think you aren’t making progress, if you’re following your instincts, you are.

    -The dots only connect in retrospect. You may not understand now how and why your choices are powerful, but there will come a time when you will look back and understand how every step you took was crucial.

    I remember thinking I was wasting so much time, doing all kinds of odd jobs and working in several different fields. (I didn’t start this site until I was 30.) I now see that each one taught me something I needed to learn to help me discover what I really wanted to do–and each one helped me develop skills that I now use every day.

    So try to be kind to yourself. Other people may have expectations, but they aren’t living inside your head, feeling your instincts. The only one who can make wise decisions for you is you, and even if it makes you feel anxious at times, you will eventually thank yourself for being brave enough to follow your heart, not someone else’s brain.

    I hope this helps a little. You are in my thoughts!


  • lilly132

    I want to say few thanks to Dr Gboco, for the wonderful work he did for me last week, my husband ask for a divorce letter because of the little misunderstanding we heard in the past few month, And also i never wanted this because all our investment was a joint business and i don’t have to be far away from my family and my two lovely kids. My friend told me about Dr Gboco Email: and how he also help him so i have to contact him because i want to stop my husband from completing the divorce letter and i want to keep my family together and after contacting him, i was told what i needed to do and when i was going to start seeing the result and after which my husband call me and start asking for my forgiveness and it was all like a dream to me and we are all living happily together again all thanks to Dr Gboco…

  • Theresa

    Hi Lori, I know you wrote this, it looks like a number of years ago but I came across it one day, while I was full of frustration and difficult life choices. I just turned 26 and about 10 months ago, made a choice to move out of my shoe box apartment in NYC, trying to make a better life for myself. I left for a job that wound up being a horrible mistake. NYC was my home for about 8 years. This afternoon a friend of mine told me straight, when I was reflecting on my career and choices and he said ” you moved because you don’t know what your doing and in 3 weeks, you’ll settle somewhere else and move again”. He is right, I’m lost and regretting moving out of the city I called home. Anyway, your post is helping me try and think a little differently. So thank you.

  • I’m glad this helped, Theresa. I know that lost feeling all too well. I hope the upcoming weeks bring a renewed sense of clarity!

  • cloudenvy_93

    You guys, it’s urgent that you accept salvation from hell fire! All humans have sinned, and all our sins added together equal eternity in hell, on the other hand you can believe in Jesus Christ alone and he will save you. Jesus is the son of God [Totally God and totally Man) who never ever sinned, was brutally killed on the cross for our sins, (each bad thing we do] was left in a tomb, and recovered from death back to life. At the exact moment you believe in him alone, Jesus will add eternal life and forgiveness of your sins to your life

  • Ashish Gambhir


    i agree whatever you said …Even I am at my 24 but still its very hard to come out of regret.For example :In my case i you did not care about studies in my academics and but after all the bull shit ,i have done in my college time . i was able to get a good Job and I thought that everything would be ok but things again start getting worse .i was not good in Knowledge which was creating problem for me.Second whenver I tried to go for futher exams my previous CGPA always create a probelme then it become very difficult for you becuase everywhere your facing that past results

  • Hi Ashish,

    I’m sorry to hear that things have gotten worse. I know it can be tough to let go of regrets when it feels like the past is holding you back. I hope that things improve with the job!


  • Aafi

    It’s good, but i’m not satisfied yet, if life would be that much simple to be handle people won’t go for suicides. I want some better stuff to move forward in my way because i have suffered so much that now i think i am going to fall and that i dont want i wanna live to see more realities……..

  • shab

    Hi Lori my name is shab and my age is 24 I very much depressed since I dont have even a single good friend I do care so much for my friends but they seem all our friend for some selfish purpose. I am alone and thoughts coming to me everyday that I am always alone I dont know what is the best solution for this but what I am doing is just go with my life not to worry much about friends but still its haunting please do suggest something so that I can copeup with my life

  • I’m so sorry to hear about how you’re feeling, shab. Have you considered trying a new activity/hobby to see if you can meet some new people? Since I’ve moved a lot, I’ve gone through many phases when I’ve felt alone. While it can take time to make close friends, just connecting with other people can make a huge difference.

  • Old Man in Hell

    Lori, I just wanted you to know I appreciate your very helpful and compassionate reply. I have not been ignoring your response these 7 months, but thinking it over from time to time and trying to come up with something. I’ll add more later on. Thanks!

  • You’re most welcome. =)

  • Zicky

    I just wanted to say that this is some great advice. I’m a drug and alcohol counselor and regularly try to help people who have built so many regrets and resentments throughout the course of their use. I think this really illustrates the point that life is what you make of it now.. not what has happened in the past. Thank you for your time and advice! Judging by your replies to the people who commented I can see that you care about those people who you’re trying to help. An all too rare of a quality this day and age 🙂 Please keep it up!

  • You’re most welcome, and thank you for the kind words of acknowledgment. =)

  • beaten up

    what about when your 80 yrs old and people (like wife ) keeps bringing up your cheating days from55 yrs ago

  • Elsie

    Hi Beth,
    I am in my late 30s and remember feeling a bit like you did at 30 – but now looking back I was so young and had so much going for me that I didn’t realise. Opportunities won’t necessarily decline or at least you may be wiser now to take hold of the good ones. 30 really isn’t old – not at all. You still have your youth and beauty I am sure and more importantly you have lessons and experience you can help you make better choices. You have plenty of time ahead of you and your 30s could be the best and most amazing time of your life – so please seize the day and don’t waste them in regret.

  • anon

    Thanks Lori I don’t know if you are still reading posts but wanted to say thanks for this page – there is a lot of wisdom here. However, I guess although I know the theory, I still can’t deal with the main regret that I keep replaying in my head, which is basically the feeling that I married the wrong guy and let the man I really loved get away. I have a toddler who is beautiful and who I love to bits – so of course I don’t regret her – she is my little ray of light. But I feel trapped and depressed over the feeling that I married someone I didn’t really love (but basically because I was pregnant and it seemed the right thing to do) and that I will never know the feeling of being in love again. I am not getting on well with my husband, we argue every day and I just get annoyed with him constantly. It is not really his fault, or anybody’s fault – but I guess we are just not well suited. Meanwhile I see the person I think about (on facebook) in a new relationship and I feel so jealous and sad. I keep having dreams where things worked out differently and then waking up and kicking myself for the way I handled things in the past. I feel so depressed and tormented by it all. Basically I think a lot of the decisions in my life were based on a mixture of low self-esteem and fear and I guess also just an element of bad luck and bad timing – and I sometimes think about how if certain small things had happened very slightly differently, it could have changed everything. I really don’t know how to deal with all these feelings of regret and sadness – I can’t even admit them to anyone and I really don’t know how to use my energy (as you say) to create something better. I really try but I feel just keep coming back to this weight of disappointment, unhappiness and frustration with my present reality and this wanting to turn by the clock – even though I know it is futile. I am not far off 40 and I don’t really have any positive vision for the future except to hope my child will grow up to be luckier in love and happier than me. What can I do?

  • You’re most welcome.

    I’m so sorry to hear about what you’re feeling right now. I’m not sure what’s right for you right now, but if I were in your shoes, I’d remind myself that I can choose not to stay in an unsatisfying relationship.

    I know that may seem a lot more easily said than done, especially when there’s a child involved. But I know if it were me, I wouldn’t be able to stay in a situation when my gut told me it isn’t right.

    While the man you formerly love is no longer an option for you, a love like that is. But first you need to create space for it.

    I hope this helps a little. You are in my thoughts!


  • Beth

    Hi Elsie,
    Thank you so much for writing this. It really cheered me up and inspired me! Deep down I know you are right, and I’ve been working on letting go of regret. I agree that my 30’s could be some of the best years of my life, even better than my 20’s, if I learn from my mistakes and stop dwelling on the past, and “seize the day” as you said. I know I need to stop wasting time dwelling in regret, because that will only lead to more regret. I’m working on being more optimistic and present, and I’ve definitely made progress since writing this post. Thanks for reminding me of that, I really appreciate it. <3

  • Lori

    Nice to find this article, and now your words. I suppose it all comes down to our personal perspective on life and growth.

    Matt- Yes. We beat ourselves up harder than another can imagine. Yet they’ll kick us when we’re down instead of lending a hand.

    I’ll keep lending hands and growing.

  • Jay

    this article mainly focuses on regrets about things you can’t control, and on accepting responsibility. my interior heartache is to do with accepting responsibility and then feeling the weight of that – i.e. my mistakes were all my fault, and were under my control. any tips on that?

  • Old fool

    I regret blowing an opportunity for an education.
    I went to college right after hs. I did not like myself. Others also did not like me. I wasted a lot of time on being unhappy and unfocused.
    20y later I see where I should have been in 1995 for college to have been successful- esteem-wise,maturity -wise. I live in the regret because I see the hindsight now of how I could have made things better.
    I’m just afraid I’ll never get over it.
    I tried replicating the college experience and it is not the same. I’m now $50,000 in debt,still one year left. Face it,I blew it.

  • Kaoru

    This is beautiful. Thank you so much.

  • You’re most welcome. =)

  • mariel

    hi lori.. im a newbie here, im just typing on my searh box “how to” never know what to do,, i feel very depressed this past few days. then i see at the recommendation (search on goggle) how to be happy and contented, and then i almost read 7 of ur articles ,, i read it all thoroughly including the comments. and i smile to myself and said, this is a good site and very helpful blog author”,)thank you very much for helping people u dont even know….
    by the way, my father died about 10 years ago , heart attack… and everything happens,,,,oh long story,,,im tired of even thinking
    at present my mother had a breast the only one looking for her.. my brother, is .. well let say that he is “busy” on his own life.
    im 34 years old, my father died when im 24
    id like to share what has happened to me all the regrets, but i said to myself now… its not possible”,) it,s very long.
    I,ll just read all possible article u have,,, the comments and ur advice and other readers advice,
    Ur blog is so wonderful.. keep it up
    God bless Lori.. and always take care, and like u olweiz said to your comments..your always be at our (readers) thought …thank you

  • Hi Mariel,

    I’m so sorry to learn about your father–and your mother. I can only imagine how difficult this has all been for you. I’m glad this and the other articles you read helped somewhat.

    Sending good thoughts your way…


  • Vi


    This post is pretty helpful! Unfortunately, I am one of those 20 somethings who somehow royally messed up. At the moment when least expected. I feel completely lost in life while I see all my friends moving forward. I will be graduating with a degree I don’t feel passionate about next year. I have no idea how to logically overcome this regret. I truly don’t know what to do. My only hope is that I go to college again, so I can study healthcare, and follow my interest. Reading some of these posts have given me hope that all is not lost and I can be happy if I dare once again!

  • Hi Vi,

    I’m sorry to hear about what you’re feeling right now, but glad the conversation here gave you hope! Incidentally, I wrote a post a while back that may also be helpful to you:

    Sending good thoughts your way…


  • Martha

    Thank you so so much I needed this message right now…and I’m moving forward.

  • You’re most welcome!

  • Nikiya Toochie

    I herd from a couple of friends that I guy I knew liked me but because I been so hurt in the past I didn’t take none of them serious but when I found out that he really liked me and wanted to date me it was already too late and he had got into a relationship and I regret not giving him a chance because we could of been something but because of my past I wasn’t taking him serious and he probably thought I didn’t like him when truth is I did but because of my past and insecurities I didn’t give him a chance now sometimes I would see him with his girlfriend and I would hate it because that could of been me I just wish I could rewind back the time and do things differently I regret this so much I just hope maybe one day god will put us together because I really messed up and I want another chance

  • jane Bogdan

    Hello. My husband of almost 7 years, cheated on me and left me for her and is living with her now. He said he hasn’t been happy in years but never told/showed me he was unhappy. We have a 4 year old son that missed his daddy so much and cries for him to just come home. Our son even crawled all over his car crying “dcaddy stay home with me.” And he still left. He just keeps saying “he’s never coming back, no matter what.” I didn’t know what to anymore..he left me 5/7/15, the weekend before mothers day this year and it broke my heart and I keep praying to God and he keeps telling me “be patient” I was still trying my best but it was hard when this was hurting my son so badly. I have told my sister about this and she gave me some advice to contact a very good and powerful prophet who can help me pray for my husband to come back and be happy with us again which i did and i contacted the prophet. he prayed for me and my husband cam home begging me to take him back and now we are happily living together and a family. all thanks to the prophet and his email is ( God bless you abundantly!

  • johnmuir

    i assaulteed myn exwife 45 years ago had seen her daughter came inti my life after 42 bad health worked with hae to get her back on her feet after 20 years her mother appears and brings up the past i no longer see my daughter???? i deeply regret what i had done..

  • Laura

    Wow, that was very helpful to me. I really struggle with regret obsessively. Thank you!

  • You’re most welcome. I’m glad it helped!

  • Great Debate

    I just turned 50 year old and the last 2 years have been a learning and understanding experience for me. Right back to my childhood, I grew up in a dysfunctional family. My parents were immigrants to Canada from world war 2 and went through a lot in their young lives. Both my parents were severe alcoholics and I only have 1 biological brother who has been very mean/narcissist type of character to me all my life and sexually assaulted me at 9 years old he was 16. I never had an aunt, uncle, cousin as my parents did not speak of their families. My parents both passed by the time I was 29. I tried and tried to get them help and lived with them through all the trauma. Basically, since the age of 11 or 12 I had to be an adult and became their caretaker when they should have been embracing me and giving me confidence and a safe upbringing. My mom when drunk called me every mean and evil name in the book and it hurt deeply but I kept looking after her. After my dad passed away, she became worst but I stayed as I knew she would die if someone did not look after her and my brother was cruel to both parents. My brother did not help me at all and at one point when I had to call an ambulance because my mom was unconscious in convulsions he told me to deal with it because he had a baseball game he could not miss. I was told in the hospital it was not good and to get the family together. My mom pulled through but the drinking never stopped. At 29, I found her dead on the floor and what a bunch of mixed emotions I had going through me. Every relationship I tried ended in some type of abuse. I also saw a man murdered when I was 27 years old.My brother and I stayed in my parents house and he finally at 50 found himself a girlfriend. With the girlfriend he is ok, when she is not around then I am treated like garbage. He literally told me he hated me and I should not have been born. He even said I have gotten so fat that my stomach is bigger than my chest. I cried and cried and my mind was always racing on how I can get away from him, this town or life in general but I did not have funds to go anywhere. I ended up working for a terrible company who treat their clients and customers like garbage and are basically stealing from them and the company refuses to take ownership for their mistakes. They wanted us, the employees, to lie for them on a daily basis. My boss/manager was constantly on my back and spoke mean just like my brother. Basically I got treated poorly at work and went home and got it again. I finally could not go on….I had a mental breakdown. I kept 49 years of my life bottled up inside I did not know where to turn for help and did not want to bother anyone. I ended up doing the worst thing I could ever do…I committed fraud over $5000 (they say $120,000 but it is definitely not that high after viewing my bank statements..again a terrible company to work for) at my job and am now in the court process. I have paid back $50,000. My mind said it was either find funds and a way to get out and get away from it all, move away and start new or commit suicide and end it all as life has been nothing but trouble and trauma. All my life I have helped and cared for people and have a huge heart but I could never help myself. I am educated and had good jobs along the way..until the last one. I graduated with honours from college twice and have help management positions and all this kind keeping my life and pain buried deep inside me. For 7 years I told the doctor I wanted help and he would just throw me on antidepressants. I finally went in and put my foot down and said….NO, I need serious mental help and a psychiatrist or someone who can hear me out. I went to a counsellor who truly made me see my life in a different context. She admitted she was sorry for me and I should never have had to deal with what I went through as parents are supposed to raise and nurture their kids and in my case, I as a child of 12 had to be the nurturer to adults with no training. She said I was a strong lady and a real survivor. I kept beating myself up and she said don’t…you had to do what you had to do under the circumstances and she was surprised I lasted 49 years without lashing out and doing something crazy or stupid. She sent me to group therapy and other counselling which I am still taking and I am finally getting better. As far as court, they are looking at giving me 10 months in jail and all my doctors, counsellors, lawyer, friends who support me think this is wrong and I have suffered enough pain and beat myself up enough over my mistake. They know what I did was wrong but they also know that it was totally out of character for me. From day 1, I have been honest and admitted I did wrong, I have worked hard to get myself better and can’t wait for this to be over so I can start a new life with all the new skills I have learned about leaving the past behind and that nobody is perfect and that I should continue with my treatment and not have to quit.. I am hoping the judge will agree to house arrest and let me work or if sentenced to jail that I can do it on weekends as this is what my lawyers hopes for also for me. If I have to do 10 months I jail it will kill me and I will be back to square one. Please pray for me that thing will work out and get better. I am sorry my story is long but it only shows it is not easy to bounce back when you get older and have to deal with your life’s trauma. PLEASE if you need help get it early so you don’t have to experience what I went and am going through.

  • Suman Kumar

    Thanks Lori for the wonderful advice.

    I have always brooded over the past thinking about the things I could have done to make my life more enjoyable. After reading your article, it seems like my heart has been unyoked from all it’s past burdens.

    “The only thing that keeps us stuck in the lost possibilities is the refusal to focus on new ones.” That’s a very powerful and empowering advice.

  • You’re most welcome, Suman. I’m glad this helped!

  • Holly

    I really need advice. This is really good but I’m still lost. I recently up and moved 1500 miles away. I was in a 3 year relationship and couldn’t get myself to except it. I wanted out. So one day we had a fight and I up and moved. My amazing house, my dog, the job I always wanted. Well its been 3 months and I can’t stop regretting it. Everyday I just want to go back. I’m very in love but she doesn’t want me back. Her life is going great since I left. She thinks we both need to grow before we can ever revisit the relationship. I broke her heart. How do I know what to do. We don’t have kids or anything. I feel like I left to much behind and I gave up. I just want to go back. If I did I would live on my own but I just wanna know if I should go back,just to see.

    I can’t get myself to accept the change, everyday I just wish to go back and see whats there. I wanna know if that’s where I’m suppose to be..

  • Hi Holly,

    I’m so sorry to hear about what you’re going through. I know this is probably difficult and painful to consider, but it sounds like there’s nothing you can do now, except begin accepting her decision.

    It will likely take time – you’ll need to work through all your complex emotions to eventually make peace with what’s happened. Try to be gentle with yourself. And perhaps consider that there’s nowhere you’re “supposed” to be. There’s just where you are, and this new path is equally valid. In fact, it’s entirely possible that a year or two from now you’ll see this as a blessing in disguise. I know that’s happened to me.

    After my first long-term relationship ended, I was filled with regret, particularly because I felt it was all my fault. It felt like I lost a limb, and I just wanted him back. But now, many years later, I’m grateful that relationship didn’t work out. He and I are both happy separately, and with better matches. I never would have imagined this was possible back then.

    You chose to leave this relationship, so there was likely something inside you that said this wasn’t right. Consider that even though you’re feeling fear and regret, your first instinct may have been right for you.

    I hope this helps a little. You are in my thoughts!


  • Alan woo

    Omg pls help. I stole my Maid’s money and now I definitely going to be caned by my father. I’m so scared now PLEASEE HELPPPP!!!!!!!

  • Natural Encouragement

    You should get on periscope! You would sell thousands of dollars worth because your course is amazing!! Check out Chalene Johnson and Nicole Walters on Periscope! Killing it with information course sales.

  • Scott

    Thank you so much for this Lori. Reading everyone’s responses (and your responses to them) has legitimately helped me change my perspective. In a time in my life where I should be happier than ever, I have let a horrible betrayal against my friend(s) haunt me, and affect me in almost every moment of solitude. Every choice regarding friends I have ever made since then has been preceded with recollection of my mistakes and it’s difficult to move forward from. Perhaps I need to forgive myself; despite having valid forgiveness from my old friends, it still feels as if nothing has changed. I love those friends so much; they taught me so much and were some of the most amazing people I think I’d ever been in contact with. This depression stems from a longing for the old days; before the psychotic break. I’m so sorry guys… Today I noticed myself being extremely negative (in only a couple instances) and watched that negativity infect the situations around me. I choose to live as consciously as possible, but sometimes I slip from this ideal and beat my self up for it. I think that self-loathing is the source of all negative behavior. You have to love yourself before you can truly love others. I don’t know where this comment is really going but it felt really great to get all of this out and hopefully help others who need it. Thanks for reading. Be strong everyone; no matter how hard life gets, it’s up to you to determine how difficult it really feels. As some say, suffering truly is a choice. It will sneak up on you, but that’s why there is support like this website. Even after all of this though… I still feel such melancholic pain towards the past… It’s just another challenge to overcome i suppose. baby steps as they say

  • Old Man Considering …

    I am now 65, and have not ceased to reflect, from time to time, on what I wrote nearly two years ago and on your response.

    I don’t know if this will be helpful. I can’t say that I have found any one particular thing that has let me move a little bit past my regrets, but rather time, meditation, listening to words such as yours, and being willing to be a little more open to the present, a little more hopeful (sometimes) about the future (or at least able to imagine that good things *might* still happen), and a little more forgiving of the past.

    A few months ago I found a passage in one of my children’s books–The Story of Sir Launcelot and His Companions by Howard Pyle–that hit me hard, maybe because I was ready to hear it. Sir Launcelot has discovered that his neglect has caused the death of the woman who most deeply loved him, and he has gone to a wise hermit in the woods for aid in healing his spirit. Finally he is able to say, “Lo, God! I am Thy handiwork. I have sinned and
    have done great evil, yet I am still Thy handiwork, who hath made me
    what I am. So, though I may not undo that which I have done, yet I may,
    with Thy aid, do better hereafter than I have done heretofore.”

    I know the God language and Pyle’s antique style may put many people off today, but I still found something very profound in those words.

    Another book I have been reading lately is Pema Chödrön’s The Places that Scare You: a Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times. I like that she links courage indissolubly with compassion and says that only by opening our hearts to compassion for all the world can we gain true courage. And of course compassion cannot accept boundaries and limits: at some point I have to become willing to offer it to myself.

    I am still struggling with regret. Now it is focusing on some very large and very terrible things I did to myself–as well as others–because for so many years I didn’t listen to myself, to my own inner voice trying to tell me what would be wrong and right for me, even in very important matters. I am trying to find my way through.

    –Old Man Considering Not Renewing His Lease in Hell

  • You’re most welcome, Scott! I know how tough it can be to stop beating yourself up. This has been a great struggle for me as well. We’re all so much harder than ourselves than we’d ever be on others – it sounds like your friends are being much gentler with you than you are. You deserve it! Baby steps – such wonderful advice. Sometimes it seems like we aren’t making progress, but tiny steps eventually add up.

  • IBikeNYC

    “No matter what I got, I was painfully discontent and depressed, and often isolated in fear.”

    Thank you very much for putting this into words for me.

  • You’re most welcome. 🙂

  • Anuj

    hi lori, I am happy to read this article but I am in a place of severe regret and I feel I am totally stuck. I liked a woman and we were in a virtual relationship. when I met her recently, I felt shocked and fear due to which I could not communicate and started holding back. I had to tell her that lack of physical attraction is not making me move forward. I was fine with my decision for 2 weeks only but afterwards I realised what we both had was truly wonderful and I loved her based on her core personality and the compatibility we had. I realised love is totally bigger than what I had done. Letting her go and causing her this pain has severely hurt me. I have been in depression and sadness for months now wishing I could have been careful in handling this. I feel deeply sorry but I realised I truly love her. I need some peace and solace instead of regretting everyday.

  • rollins3490

    Agreed. Clearly written by a girl for younger girls. Sage, albeit limited advice.

  • I’m so sorry for what you’re feeling now, Anuj. I know it can be tough to let go of regret when you feel certain you made the “wrong” choice. Have you shared with her what you wrote here?

  • Anuj

    yes Lori through social network, but the most unfortunate thing is she is in the States and I am unable to say all this to her directly. I felt had I told her directly face to face something positive could have happened. Through social network she mentioned she doesn’t love me and says it’s a closed chapter.

  • Ah, I see. Once again, I’m so sorry. I hope the advice in my post helped a little.

  • Scott Howland

    Thank you for your inspiring story, statements and strategies to help overcome regret! Myself was once a scared and lost person with many regrets that held me down and emotionally crippled my zest for moving forward! I accepted and learned to to digest my guilt and release my new self impowered, positive potential and rewarding actions that came along with me letting go of my guilt,fear,shame and regret! Again, thank you! You reinforced what I already new. But, it’s your writing and words of delivery that has influenced my state of being in the now!! Best of Chi!

  • You’re most welcome, Scott. I’m glad this helped!

  • Jess

    I’m 21 and I’m here because I regret losing my temper at my grandfather (who raised me) and throwing keys at him when he slapped my hand away from the handbrake while I was turning the car off.

    Basically the car key cut his hand and it’s swollen (I of course didn’t intend this). But although I am young, the regrets that I have known are heavy. Because he is 90, and I never know which interaction will be our last. And although he is a stubborn asshole, I love him with all my heart and it breaks me each and every time we fight (he’s very argumentative).

    I know that your reference to age was a generality, but I just wanted to point out that there will always be an exception, and therefore someone who can be helped by these posts.

    I know that my instance of regret may be minor, but it weighs so much heavier upon me because our time has been running out since I was old enough to realise the impact of age, especially since I am practically an orphan.

  • James

    This is a wonderfully honest piece. So many people (on and off the net) are great at offering advice but rarely admit their own cock-ups – like the pyramid disaster. I call regret the 8th deadly sin. It really has had me and and dry in parts of my life. Over the last 20 years or so I’ve not suffered strogly from this debilitating phenomenon. But recently I have been beating myself black and blue over a rushed decision which turned out to be a mistake. The thing is it’s about a conflict with our neighbour about their building plans, not about something really, really dreadful.

    And yet the regret and self-recrimination took hold of me. It was in my mind permanently going round and round. My wife and I went to Switzerland to visit her son. We stayed in the most beautiful place imaginable but still the washing-machine in my head rolled this way and that. The problem was real and affecting our home, but my mental suffering about it was created entirely by my own mind.

    I even suffered insomnia which is something I’ve never experienced before (lucky me!). My wife said to think of nice, positive things which I tried to do. If i got to sleep, I would wake up with the same rubbish in my head. It was like some sort of mental parasite which I just couldn’t get rid of.

    I became completely unable to enjoy the moment because of this obsessive rumination about how I should have made a different decsion combined with fear and anxiety about it’s effects on our home life and finances. Instead of putting it all out of my mind until I needed to make further practical decisions (hopefully better ones), I just had to live with these feelings.

    As I said, it is not as if the problem (which has not been resolved) is one about the safety of loved ones or anything like that. It’s the sort of thing an outsider would think of as an unpleasant situation but not one to destroy your entre piece of mind.

    The intensity has lessened but I still have moments where I find myself indulging in trying to turn back time (if only). I have used everything – Buddhist sources, practical psychological ideas, and have reminded myself of the need to strengthen my trust in God.

    It’s all good but I still am amazed at how this horrible mental phenomenontook hold of me decades after I thought I’d got it cracked.

    Thanks for your pithy and helpful post.

  • Amanda

    I’m 26 now and I regret treating all the wonderful guys that came into my life like crap. They all treated me well and I had no reason to break up with them other than I felt trapped by being with one person. I have never had my father in my life, he cheated on my mom and beat her and I feel like I’ve messed up so many times with my relationships because of my own insecurities that they were accepting of, and they wanted to help with. They gave me no reason to think they would be like my biological father. My happiness and feeling loved was their top priority. I feel like I mindlessly made rash decisions so many times in my life and relationships. One of the guys I regret losing the most. I broke up with him 3 times before he finally moved on and found someone else. I thought I could always get him back if I wanted to, but I’m way to late. He has been married for a few years now. I think about him every day and I have thought about him every day for the past 5 years. I don’t know what to do to get over it. I want to get over it and move on more than anything. I feel like I would have been happier with him than anyone else I could ever meet. I’ve dated a few good guys since him and I’ve broken up with all of them, I think it’s been because I compare everyone to him. My heart hurts daily and I still cry about it very often. Any advice? I’ve talked to everyone I know about this looking for some kind of comfort. Everyone says what’s done is done and I have no choice but to move on. I know that but for some reason I can’t accept it. I try to look for any distraction possible, hobbies, movies, etc… But nothing helps me to stop thinking about it. I’m in therapy, I’ve been on anti depressants for a while. Nothing seems to help. I feel so alone every day. I know if I could go back and change things I would. I would give anything I have to change me leaving him.

  • Kevin Thompson

    5. Embrace impermanence.
    This does not seem to apply when the regret has persisted for a decade and a half with no end in sight, and any alteration to the consequences of the past’s regretful actions would only make things worse than they already are.

  • annabeth

    I know this may sound really dumb, but today I had to write an AP test along with 444 other people. The school is choosing less than 100 students to be part of AP. For the math test, I left an entire section 1/7 sections) because I couldn’t remember what to do, and I also left one part (o.5/7 sections) because I didn’t understand it. Now, after talking with my friends, I feel so sad and I regret skipping that question and I’m mad at myself for not knowing what to do because my other friends did that question. I guess the reason I’m sad is mainly because I feel sad that my other friends will get in and I won’t. Any advice on a situation like this? But thanks for the article, really helped.

  • Cammy

    You are right. We had a perfect life in Europe. I wanted to go “home” being the US. My husband had an unnecessary surgery in the US that maimed him, disabled him, he is in constant pain and can’t function. My kids don’t have a father. He’s not “there” 99.9% of the time. We left a country that’s constantly rated one or two in quality of life, back to one where there are homeless, transients, income inequality. How many time have I gone back and thought, if only if only if only….. My kids could have gone to college for free, the food is better, more vacations. But at the time how was I to know. Hindsight is 20/20. It’s easy to tell someone how they should feel, it’s much different being that person.

  • Cammy

    Love lee you have to realize how many are out there like you. Sometimes people who love you and can make your life good are pushed away by us by some unconscious fear of losing love or insecurity. Many have done this, myself included. Sometimes in the moment we cant see what we have in front of us, whether a person, or place.

  • Cammy

    OMG you sound so much like me. Realize who you are teaching. I should have gotten an elementary school credential but didn’t. I got a secondary (age 13-17) credential which in America means you have to be really lucky what school you get. I got a cruddy school and couldn’t bear it. Know that you are still young. Know that now is the time to make those mistakes. And don’t be afraid to jump back in. If teaching doesn’t feel right don’t do it! I only taught once more in Europe full time but it was a WONDERFUL experience at a private international school, something I’d NEVER have in America.

  • Cammy

    I was similar. But oddly my parents were married and somewhat happy. But our insecurities push people away. As you realize this and change new love will come into your life. You have to be upfront and open with these people about who YOU are – your insecurities, etc.. if they really love you they’ll stay!

  • Cammy

    Jay, those are the worst regrets, the ones you control, because you are often the most unforgiving with thoughts like “what was I thinking?” “If only I hadn’t made that stupid decision.” But you see, at the time you DID make that decision, and you DID think it was right. You have to go back and forgive yourself because for one reason or another you did have control over that decision whether it was bad or good.I know because I live wtih a decision that had dire consequences for our family. And now I am trying to realize I can’t go back in time. It’s like the universe has said “NO” I have given you this opportunity and you chose to leave it. The thing that makes me the saddest is it’s not just me it affects but my husband and my kids. I can live with my mistakes but when it has a ripple affect that’s when it really hurts.

  • Reina Rose

    You created for her a life wound that she can’t heal from.

  • Tey Matata

    palmeria, its four years later but i am so glad to read this from you, i also pushed away a good man and i can tell you the guilt and regret is like a mountain it kept me up at night, woke me early in the morning, couldn’t eat, we tried to work it out but it was clear the love feeling was gone, some times i think about us getting back together but then i have this feeling in my stomach (something like fear i don’t know) because of the way you feel when you want something and its slipping through your fingers, so i let go of him daily, your words have encouraged me to know i will meet someone else -BY FAITH-. Thanks.

  • Jubs

    Hi Lori,
    I just wanted to say that these were some words I really needed to hear.
    I’m one to beat myself up over and over for every wrong doing, to the point that it really does paralise me once in a while.
    Learn to go through our mistakes and try to make it an opportunity to grow is indeed a very important lesson – which i’m trying to lear myself…

    So, just thank you!

  • You’re welcome, Jubs! I know that paralysis all too well. I’m glad this helped!

  • Brent Lopacinski

    My dad has passed and I regret the arguments we had, the mean things Ive said I said horrible things and I no I’m wrong.