About No Regrets:
Regretting is the act of revisiting past decisions or events, comparing them to what might have been, wishing they had been different, and suffering emotionally in the present because they are not. The word regret comes from the Middle English word regrete, meaning "to lament or to feel sorry" and from the Old English word graetan, meaning "to weep." When we give past decisions or events the power to hurt us in the present, we have created burdensome regrets-regrets that corrode our lives.
Why do we regret?
Regrets arise from unfulfilled expectations, from shattered hopes and lost dreams, from failures and tragedies, mistakes and misjudgments. They arise naturally out of life's events and are woven into the fabric of the human experience. Regrets are to be expected as part of being alive. They are inevitable. But regrets do not have to be burdensome. They can be let go and their power to hurt us taken away.
What does it mean to harbor a regret?
Regrets pose a problem for us when we intensely or repeatedly revisit them, wishing things had been different and blaming ourselves or others that they are not. To harbor a regret means to continue to experience the emotions it generated and to suffer from them long after it was appropriate to have worked through them and let them go. When we are tormented by something we did in the past or something someone else did to us or because of some event over which we have no control, we are harboring a regret.
Why do we harbor regrets?
We harbor regrets because we don't know how to let them go or because we are unwilling to let them go. No Regrets will help you overcome either or both of these obstacles to letting go of your regrets and finding happiness in the present.
What are the different ways to regret?
Regrets can be divided into seven categories. A complex regret may consist of several regrets that fall into more than one category. The seven types of regret are:
- Acts you committed that you wished you hadn't. For example, you told a secret that hurt someone's reputation.
- Acts you didn't commit that you wish you had. For example, you regret that you didn't complete your college education.
- Acts others committed that you wish they hadn't. For example, your spouse filed for divorce.
- Acts others didn't commit that you wish they had. For example, you were cut out of your parents' wills.
- Acts of fate or circumstances. For example, you were seriously injured when a tree fell across your car.
- The inevitable losses that life brings, but that you regret nonetheless. Sometimes these regrets are buried in blessings. For example, you take a much better job, but you have to leave a city where you are very comfortable and have many friends. Other times, the regrets are shared by everyone who lives or, at least, who lives long enough, but you still regret them. These regrets include the losses associated with growing older and with change. For example, your only child goes off to college or you lose your youthful appearance.
- Comparisons of yourself to others that lead you to regret, because you believe that you have failed to measure up in some way. These comparisons fall into three categories:
- Comparisons that you make between yourself and people you know or have read about.
- Comparisons of your life and accomplishments to the impossible standards you set for yourself or to the unrealistic expectations of other people or, in some cases, to those of society.
- Comparisons of your present life to the dreams you once had for yourself or to the potential you once possessed that has not been realized-and never will be.