Here is why I have the courage to tell you not to regret anything

“We stay up late every night. Regret it every morning. Then do it again.” By the time you finish this story, you will understand why you can still brew tea with the bag under your eyes to feed you just a little bit of caffeine each and every morning in your life.

I was sitting on the café shop a while ago, thinking about everything I regret of doing these past few years. First, I regret not drinking enough mineral water which led to a moderate back pain, while drinking my favorite caramel macchiato. Second, I regret thinking that exams is ages away resulted to a dreadful score I sense will coming, while there I was, chilling with no textbook in my hand. Third, I regret cancelling a lot of my plans which made me feel bad to cancel another one, while texting my friends that I can’t fulfill my promise to hang out with them because I have other thing to do which is laze around at home. And the numbers goes on.

Until a couple of hours ago I still believed that having regrets is a really really human thing to do. I mean such an unfair life we have here, how are we supposed to live without regrets, right? We regret missed opportunity. We regret past relationship. We regret unspoken words. We regret all the time we wasted. We regret all our unhealthy habit. We regret stop taking the piano lesson, not trying to master any other cool languages, wasting money for something we then realize unnecessary, not bringing our phone on a boring event, being on phone too much. We do regret a lot of things it became such a human thing to do.

It hardly ever crosses our mind that we actually spend quite lot of our time regretting something from our past we forget to understand why is it okay to do so and why is it necessary to do so? My curiosity, then, got the better of me and I decided to ask my friends “Is it okay to regret the past?” Now, I have a little task for you before proceeding to the next paragraph, I want you to think about your answer for that simple question.

I was anticipating the basic answers of a no no coming from them but surprise for me, the answers vary. Some of them said that we should never regret our past since it will not change anything, the rest told me that it’s okay for the main purpose of finally learning from them so we never do the same mistake ever again. They all sound incredibly wise, don’t they? But there are two answers that caught my attention and weirdly they are both in a form of another question. These questions then became such an eye opener for me. It triggered me to rethink everything from scratch and furthermore motivated me to share this thought with all of you.

The first one is

“Would you be so kind to define ‘regret’?”

A really short and annoying question but it left a really great impact to me. It hit me that we did not grasp the idea of regret as well as we thought we did. So what is exactly the meaning of the word regret?


verb (used with object), regretted, regretting.

1. to feel sorrow or remorse for (an act, fault, disappointment, etc.)

2. to think of with a sense of loss


3. a sense of loss, disappointment, dissatisfaction, etc.

4. a feeling of sorrow or remorse for a fault, act, loss, disappointment, etc.

5. regrets, a polite, usually formal refusal of an invitation:

6. a note expressing regret at one’s inability to accept an invitation

Those are the meaning of ‘regret’ according to What I want you to know is that ‘regret’ is a feeling of sorrow or remorse, and that’s that. You might be wondering “why does knowing the meaning of regret is that important? And how would knowing it make any difference?” I will tell you this, by knowing what ‘regret’ really means you will

1. Have a better view on what ‘regret’ have in hand to offer
2. Understand why after all these time regretting stuffs, nothing really change in your life

1. Regret Possess Nothing But Thousands Of What If

When you let a feeling of sorrow or remorse for a fault, act, loss, and disappointment in and preoccupied your mind, you will drown in a sea of “what if”. Regrets possess a huge negative feeling. Regrets give you psychological injury which called rumination. Rumination is simply an act of repetitively going over a thought or a problem without completion. There, regret will drag you deep down in sorrow, together with anxiety, and you will not realize how much time you’ve wasted thinking about something you’re incapable of changing.

2. Regret Lets You Whine About The Night You Spent On Your Phone, Rather Than Planning For The Next Night

I won’t lie about how great is the urge to whine and rant about certain stuff, like when your teacher gave you tons of homework or when you have a rough day because of your boss or when your lover chose anything but you. I know damn well that sometimes we just need to shout words because we get tired of just swallowing them. Please hear me out, whining will never satisfy you, there, you will fail to see the end of it. You will become addicted to talk on and on and on about this single thing and how you wish it went differently. Regret leads to this addiction; it tries to satisfy your need of remorse that way, tricking you into thinking that somehow sometime that tighten heart of yours will find peace after letting it all out.

Thus, I have the courage to tell you not to regret anything because regret simply has nothing to offer in the end of the day. So, what can we do about our past mistakes and everything? We can’t just walk away like nothing happened can we? This is where the second great answer from my friend take place.

“Don’t you think ‘reflecting’ is the right word tho, not ‘regretting’?”


verb (used with object) cast back (light, heat, sound, etc.) from a surface

2. to give back or show an image of; mirror.

3. (of an act or its result) to serve to cast or bring (credit, discredit, etc.) on its performer.

4. to reproduce; show

5. to throw or cast back; cause to return or rebound

verb (used without object)

6. to be turned or cast back, as light.

7. to cast back light, heat, etc.

8. to be reflected or mirrored.

9. to give back or show an image.

10. to think, ponder, or meditate

11. to serve or tend to bring reproach or discredit by association

12. to serve to give a particular aspect or impression

From the meaning given by we can conclude that reflecting is the act of deep meditation of a certain action in order to serve a particular impression. “What makes reflecting so different with regret anyway?” There is a huge different of focus and goal between these two words. Regrets focus in the remorse of the past and dwell in them while reflecting focus in seeing what happened in the past for the sole purpose of creating better future. Regret sees the mistake while reflecting sees a learning material.

So what is your answer to the question “Is it okay to regret the past?”, do you wish to change them or do you choose to stick with them?

as for me, I choose reflection over regret and I think I will have a nice rest tonight without any regret next morning.

Thank you for investing your time here, I hope you enjoyed stopping by.

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