I suspect we can all agree that regret is one of the most toxic of the emotions.  It is both paralyzing and, fundamentally, useless.  I have my share of regrets, but lately I’ve been thinking about how there are certain things that I never regret and others that I always regret.  And even though I know these things about myself – surefire ways to feel good, surefire ways to feel bad – I sometimes struggle to act on them.  Why is that?  Is inertia that powerful?  I suspect that’s a big part of it.

The other day I started thinking about the various actions that I know cause regret, and those that never do.  I wanted to specifically name them, both because I’m interested in what these things are for you and because I hope it might help me remind myself of the value of choosing things from the first list and avoiding those from the second.

Things I never regret:

Going to yoga
Going to bed
Going for a run (or exercise of any kind)
Meditating (5 minutes is my max, so don’t be too impressed)

Things I always regret:

That last glass of wine (it’s been a while since I was in this situation, truthfully)
Opening the bag of jelly beans, or anything super sugary
Talking about myself in a social setting
Pity parties

What are things that you always, and never, regret?

16 thoughts on “Regret”

  1. Yes. Perfectly succinct, the way you put it. Me too. That’s a large reason I stopped drinking (at all, or certainly more than one glass of wine) in large social settings – it made me talk too much, and I always felt regret!

  2. Such an interesting topic. I think with regret, as probably with everything, there are different levels. I have a handful of regrets that have turned into life lessons. Then there’s the list of “everyday” regrets that’s similar to yours: I never regret to move my body, meditate (I’m at 5-7 mins as well), spend time with loved ones, or make time to take my boy to the playground or to build with his blocks.
    I do regret not sleeping enough because it makes me snappy and a pain to be around, allowing myself to become unbalanced and invariably taking it out on the ones around me, and yes, talking too much in inappropriate settings can be one of these things, too. Fortunately we can reset fairly easily in most of these situations.

  3. your list is perfect. I always regret the last glass of wine and I always regret snapping at my husband. I never regret listening, reading a book or going for a walk.

  4. Yes on your whole list, and especially re. the sugary things, though my regret is aimed at the buying (because if I buy, I eat). But my biggest regret is not being kind, which includes expressing impatience–often (I now realize) because I’ve not slept enough/exercised/meditated in days/eaten properly (and so feel crummy) . Enlightening exercise–thanks for this, Lindsey!

  5. don’t regret:

    paying focused attention to my children
    spending time in nature
    spending time with friends who know me really well

    not speaking up when someone treats me poorly
    ignoring my children or husband
    making decisions based on fear

  6. Great list. I never regret yoga, cooking a meal, reading, going for a walk or listening. I always regret spending too much time buried in my phone, snapping at my husband, not calling my mother.

  7. Things I never regret:

    Coaching Travel Soccer
    Spending time with my children – this in invaluable to me
    Yoga at 8am Saturday morning
    Swimming on a Friday night with the kids
    Take walk regardless of the weather
    Sending a just because or thinking of you call, text, email, etc
    Taking pictures

    When I have sworn or yelled needlessly and I could I see it happening and did not reign in my temper from stress or inadequate preparation or sleep.
    Holding a grudge and not letting it go as quickly as I could silently — this happens with sensitive people. You feel, give, intuit a lot and at times feel taken advantage of but don’t want to become petty at bringing up the issue thus you become bitter and angry at least I do temporarily.

  8. Allowing toxic people belittle you or trying to impress them which you never will.
    ‘Auditioning’ feeling like you do this for certain relationships in your life — this is a practice I am slowly extricating my self from.

  9. What a great question.

    I never regret
    Hugging my children,
    Making the effort to play with them every day,
    Tucking my son in with a story every night,
    Reading a book,
    Playing uno with my husband
    Eating a caramello koala

    I always regret
    (like you) that last beer
    Finishing off half a pizza
    Being judgemental

  10. Such a great thought exercise. Here are mine:

    Never regret:
    Time spent exercising
    Time spent reading
    Taking a vacation
    Being more patient than I want to be
    Listening more than I talk (this is hard for me)

    Always regret:
    The third piece of pizza
    Snapping at my kids
    Pointy-toed shoes
    Staying up too late

    I should keep these in mind more often.

  11. I have crappy internet here and sometimes I can’t comment when I want to because of no connection. But I have been thinking of this post since you wrote it. It has really influenced how I move through the day as I ask myself what I will regret if I don’t accomplish. Interestingly, it’s always the little things I regret – not exercising or not giving a hug or that last class of wine or the chocolate chips I ate because it seemed easier than taking a deep breath. And I never regret doing the hard thing.

  12. My list matches your list. I would add, I regret not jumping off of jaws bridge in MV. Taking risks.

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