Why I Have Regrets

by Doreen Rainey

I am always fascinated when people say they have no regrets. REALLY?

None? Zero? Nada? Zilch?

How is it possible to have NO regrets?

A regret is defined as feeling sorrow or remorse, Regret is often a feeling of sadness, shame, embarrassment, annoyance or guilt after one acts in a certain manner and later wishes not to have done so. Based on these definitions, how can anyone say they have no regrets?

I’ll be the first to admit it – I have regrets. And not just one or two. If I really sat down and thought about it, there’s probably a long list of them.

When I look back over my life to times when I was a teenager, in college, made certain choices around a job or my career, as well as my business - and yes, there they are. Regrets.


When I think about my relationships over the years – with my family, boyfriends, best friends and my husband – yes, there they are. Regrets.

What I’ve come to realize is that regrets are actually quite common and if you were to take a look back over the years common place – the bigger

So what gives when I hear people say they have no regrets?

I believe the question they are answering is not whether they have regrets – its whether they have allowed those regrets to derail them, stop them, dictate their future or prevent them from taking another chance or moving forward. That’s the difference between those who have regrets and those who LIVE with regret.

When you act in a manner you wish you hadn’t, when you make choices that ultimately don’t give you want you wanted, when a decision doesn’t go as planned, when you say something, do something or give something that you later realize wasn’t in your best interest – what happened next?

It’s in that question – what happens next – that I think people are speaking to when they say they have no regrets.

I regret lots of things.

They range from bad hairstyles, to not breaking up with some boyfriends sooner. My list of regrets comes from not taking a job that could have advanced my career faster to taking a job that was an absolute disaster that had the potential to completely derail my career.

I regret the way I treated my mother during a time when I thought I “had all the answers” and I regret not always showing my Dad how much I appreciate his commitment to taking care of his family.

I regret bad business decisions that have cost me tens of thousands of dollars and not following up on certain opportunities that could have yield strong business results - and more money. I regret not following the advice of mentors that were looking to make my journey easier and I regret following the advice of others that didn’t yield the outcomes I was looking for.

I regret not taking advantage of opportunities to live a healthier lifestyle and I regret every day I choose to skip a workout.

I look back over the years and regret financial decisions that didn’t serve my greater goals and slowed the process of reaching our money goals.

I regret falling out of touch with some friends over the years because I was “too busy” to reach out and stay connected.

Have I felt embarrassed, shameful and a little sad because of these regrets? Absolutely.  Do I wish that I wouldn’t have acted certain ways or made certain decisions? You bet.


But I am not LIVING with those regrets.


What about you? Do you have regrets?

Based on this definition, I say you do. But the thing about regrets is not that you have them – it’s how you move past them.

How do you move past the sadness, guilt, embarrassment, shame, anger, frustration or remorse? How do you not let those regrets consume you, keep you from moving forward and prevent you from having the life you want in your career, business, relationship, finances and health?

If you don’t find a way, regret will consume you and you will become stuck, unable to move forward in that area and you will sink deeper into all those emotions that regret causes.

But moving past them gives you freedom! Freedom to make new choices, act in a different way and create an alternative decision that moves you into the results you truly want.

That’s what people mean when they say they have not regrets. They are saying that while there were things that happened to them and they made choices that ultimately weren’t in their best interest - they regrouped, adjusted and ultimately moved in a different direction.

And being able to do that is something you won’t ever regret.

RADICAL Success Coach Doreen Rainey helps her clients Get RADICAL - by defining success for themselves and getting the guts to go after it. Get her FREE RADICAL Success Starter Kit at www.doreenrainey.com.

© 2012 Doreen Rainey

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