The Power and Value of Remorse — Part 2 of 3

Remorse kicks Regret’s ass every time

Phillip Cave


A man sitting in a dark spiral tunnel — Canva Pro

Part one of this post introduced the distinction between regret (guilt) and remorse. As a quick recap, that distinction looks like this:

Regret — self-focused and a lack of ownership of impact

Remorse — both self and other focused and a shift in how you do human

Both have a time focus, but they differ:

Regret looks backward with longing and complaint

Remorse is present-focused with conscious, painful awareness

Both have a sense of “feeling bad,” but the motives differ:

Regret leaves you in sorrow, without responsibility. Think of it as a complaint with no action.

Remorse leaves you with intense, present, focused awareness such that you might feel “torn asunder” and calls you to be someone new.

They both call you to action that differs in responsibility:

Regret invites you to ignore, blame, or drown your sorrow.

Remorse invites you into a new way of being and going in the world.

What is the goal of following the path of remorse? Seeing the impact of the formation of your belief constructs made manifest in the world.

Note that “judgment” and “morality” are absent in remorse. It is not about being “right or wrong.”

Remorse invites you to examine the formation of emotional triggers, reactionary habits, diminishing beliefs, and diminishing actions formed in your belief construct.

Remorse invites you to reconcile and integrate the impact of diminishing self and others. Expect the wisdom of tears to show up. Not tears of shame or regret or guilt. Tears created by the consciousness of your impact created by your separation from Life.

The focus of remorse is beyond the “self” and “other.” It is a “seeing” of your separateness from Life and an invitation to wholeness.

Remorse invites you into crazy curiosity, radical responsibility, new agreements, and integrity (wholeness).

And some people in your life will not like those radical shifts or new agreements. Why? Because you train other humans to expect something from you, and when you change it, they sometimes get pissed off.

What also happens is you create new conversations, new actions, new beliefs, and new habits to return to wholeness (integrity).

You are going to create a space where someone will get “pissed off” no matter what. People can get “pissed off” when you are out of integrity (those ways in which you diminish self and others) and “pissed off” when you return to wholeness.

Why is this so? When you form relations from “out of wholeness” and you have remorsus conscientiæ and navigate back to wholeness, those humans are going to get upset. You and other humans get used to your lack of integrity in self. When you return to wholeness, you upset the “norm” to create a “new normal.” Humans can get upset when you change.

Unless those humans are also on a journey into wholeness with their own remorsus conscientiæ, if that is true, then those humans understand. I don’t meet many humans that understand this. According to adult developmental theorists, many humans operate without this understanding. You don’t think your way into this understanding… you practice it… you act on it. The head (brain) catches up later.

Remorsus Conscientiæ is beyond your brain. It’s in your heart, spirit, essence… the “stuff of life.”

In the first part of this post, I mentioned following the path of remorse with my experience with intimate relations.

To personalize and understand this path to remorsus conscientiæ:

  1. I experienced “intimate relationships” early in life (since the age of 16)
  2. and had an experience of what humans call “being cheated on.”
  3. that led to a belief structure about relationships and women
  4. that led to unconscious behavior patterns (thinking and acting habits) on how to “succeed” with relationships
  5. that led to an impact (suffering) of diminishing self and others — I created a lot of “drama” for self and others
  6. that led to an awakening (remorsus conscientiæ) — I became fed up with myself and my impact
  7. that led to mourning (remorsus conscientiæ) the impact of my current way of being
  8. that led to a complete shift in the way of being and operating over time — practice practice practice
  9. that led to re-training self and others on “who I am.”
  10. that led to some humans becoming upset and other humans becoming envious and other humans becoming doubtful and other humans wanting to know how to do this

Phew… it only took about 40 years but hey…And that is only one path with remorsus conscientiæ. My bridge to Life needed (needs) repairing. This is now a lifelong habit of reflective inquiry. One in which I invite humans into with my well-being and flourishing coaching.

Here is how it worked itself out: I became the thing I armored myself against until… Until I became fed up with my impact and saw my belief structure's falseness (limiting belief). You don’t think your way into remorsus conscientiæ… you practice it… you act on it. You feel it or sense it. The head (brain) catches up later.

That is the power of remorse. It is the vehicle in which you pivot to flourish in Life — why? Because you become re-integrated or re-connected to Life. Remorse takes your separation and restores you to wholeness.

And it starts with having your personal WTF moment to dive deep into the healing waters on the shore of flourishing.

End of part 2 — stay tuned for part 3, where we conclude a potential path for your own remorsus conscientiæ.

Phillip is someone who finds fascination in the animal that calls itself human. And so he leads a practice that he calls DearHuman.LIFE. Dear Human serves the purpose of writing, podcasting, teaching, coaching, and guiding humans on the nature of being human. So that all humans live in freedom from the constructs to which they enslave themselves and shift to their natural well-being and flourish.