Regret (emotion)


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Regret is a negative conscious and emotional reaction to personal past acts and behaviors. Regret is often expressed by the term “sorry.” Regret is often felt when someone feels sadness, shame, embarrassment, depression, annoyance or guilt after committing an action or actions that the person later wishes that s/he had not done or having not committed. Regret is distinct from guilt, which is a deeply emotional form of regret — one which may be difficult to comprehend in an objective or conceptual way. In this regard, the concept of regret is subordinate to guilt in terms of its emotional intensity. By comparison, shame typically refers to the social (rather than personal) aspect of guilt or (in minor context) regret as imposed by the society or culture (enforcement of ethics, morality), which has substantial bearing in matters of (personal and social) honor.

It is also distinct from remorse, which is a more direct and emotional form of regret over a past action that is considered by society to be hurtful, shameful, or violent. Unlike regret, it includes a strong element of desire for apology to others rather than an internal reflection on one’s actions, and may be expressed (sincerely or not) in order to reduce the punishment one receives.

Regret can describe not only the dislike for an action that has been committed, but also, importantly, regret of inaction. Many people find themselves wishing that they had done something in a past situation.

And there you have it… what has been plaguing me these past few weeks. In addition to all the other things I have going on in my life, I had to add regret. It’s my own fault really. I recently looked up an old friend. Instead of finding him, I found an obituary from 10 years ago. Now I must do my penance and live with it… I waited too long! I have a learned a valuable lesson, though. Don’t look up old friends unless you are prepared for whatever may come of it. Clearly, I was not. Rest in peace old friend…

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One Response to Regret (emotion)

  1. Candy Barnes says:

    Dave, sometimes we actually succeed at reconnecting with someone from our past and we find out that person wasn’t who we thought they were at all. The disappointment and sadness that result from that can often be overwhelming. I know it was for me.

    There’s no way of knowing what would have happened if your friend were still here, but I believe everything happens for a reason. You just have to trust that power higher than yourself that all is well, and things are as they should be.

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