negative conscious and emotional reaction to personal past acts and behaviours

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 an action or inaction, wishing that one had done otherwise.

It occurred to him that his scarcely perceptible attempts to struggle against what was considered good by the most highly placed people, those scarcely noticeable impulses which he had immediately suppressed, might have been the real thing, and all the rest false. And his professional duties and the whole arrangement of his life and of his family, and all his social and official interests, might all have been false. ~ Leo Tolstoy

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  • Whoever sows good shall harvest happiness, and whoever sows evil shall harvest regret.
  • Right motive and a clear vision of the sources of action are still imperative needs of yours. They will lead to right activity, truthful thought and right speech. But you have made progress, my brother, and have no cause for depression or to waste time in regret over the past. The only regret that is justifiable is based on failure to learn the lessons of failure. You, however, are learning. p. 605
    • Alice Bailey and Djwhal Khul Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. I, Section Two, Personal Instructions, Part X, (1944)
  • Aussi tous avaient-ils besoin d'oublier et leur malheur et leur pensée qui doublait le malheur.
    • Also did they have to forget both their misery and their thought which doubled the misery.
      • Honoré de Balzac, Illusions perdues (Lost Illusions), part II: "Un grand Homme de province à Paris" ("A Great Man of the Provinces in Paris").
  • The only thing I regret about my past is the length of it. If I had to live my life again, I'd make the same mistakes, only sooner.
    • Tallulah Bankhead, Tallulah: My Autobiography. University Press of Mississippi; illustrated edition edition (July 7, 2004)
  • I do not regret my youth and its beliefs. Up to now, I have wasted my time to live. Youth is the true force, but it is too rarely lucid. Sometimes it has a triumphant liking for what is now, and the pugnacious broadside of paradox may please it. But there is a degree in innovation which they who have not lived very much cannot attain. And yet who knows if the stern greatness of present events will not have educated and aged the generation which to-day forms humanity's effective frontier? Whatever our hope may be, if we did not place it in youth, where should we place it?
  • There is nothing between the paradise dreamed of and the paradise lost. There is nothing, since we always want what we have not got. We hope, and then we regret. We hope for the future, and then we turn to the past, and then we begin slowly and desperately to hope for the past! The two most violent and abiding feelings, hope and regret, both lean upon nothing. To ask, to ask, to have not! Humanity is exactly the same thing as poverty. Happiness has not the time to live; we have not really the time to profit by what we are. Happiness, that thing which never is — and which yet, for one day, is no longer!
  • 多聞闕疑,慎言其餘,則寡尤。多見闕殆,慎行其餘,則寡悔。言寡無,行寡悔,祿在其中矣。
    • Listen widely to remove your doubts and be careful when speaking about the rest and your mistakes will be few. See much and get rid of what is dangerous and be careful in acting on the rest and your causes for regret will be few. Speaking without fault, acting without causing regret: 'upgrading' consists in this.
    • Confucius, The Analects; Chapter II
  • The superior man accords with the course of the Mean. Though he may be all unknown, unregarded by the world, he feels no regret — It is only the sage who is able for this.
  • At this time of year, so many people will be assessing their lives and relationships, wondering if the grass is greener on the other side. Many will mistake contentment for boredom, forgetting to cherish the good things they have. I would urge those who are considering walking away from such riches to think again. …
    To those out there thinking of walking away from humdrum relationships, I would say don't mistake contentment for unhappiness, as I did. It could be a choice you'll regret for the rest of your life.
  • It would be wonderful to say you regretted it. It would be easy. But what does it mean? What does it mean to regret when you have no choice? It's what you can bear. There it is. No-one's going to forgive me. It was death. I chose life.
  • Of all fruitless errands, sending a tear to look after a day that is gone is the most fruitless.
  • To sum it all up, I must say that I regret nothing.
    • Adolf Eichmann; While awaiting trial in Israel, as quoted in LIFE magazine (5 December 1960)
  • I feel like those words are going to be engraved on my tombstone. It was brought up every single time I did an interview. I apologized for it; I acknowledged it; I said it was true; I said it was a joke. Do I regret it? I used to regret. Not anymore. I don't regret anything anymore. Would I hope that I would never say something like that ever again? Yes. Am I capable of saying something like that again? I hope not.
  • Regret...when it comes to you, I have oceans of it.
  • Never regret yesterday. Life is in you today, and you make your tomorrow.
  • We must know, as much as possible, in our beautiful art...what we are talking about — and the only way to know is to have lived and loved and cursed and floundered and enjoyed and suffered. I think I don't regret a single "excess" of my responsive youth — I only regret, in my chilled age, certain occasions and possibilities I didn't embrace.
  • I knew that what I had felt was envy or regret, not for something lost but for something never achieved.
  • I see it all perfectly; there are two possible situations — one can either do this or that. My honest opinion and my friendly advice is this: do it or do not do it — you will regret both.
  • Over every human being’s journey through life there watches a providence who provides everyone two guides: the one calls forward, the other calls back. Yet they do not contradict each other, the two guides, not do they let the traveler stand there irresolute, confused by the double call; on the contrary, the two have an eternal understanding with each other, for the one calls forward to the good, the other calls back from the evil. Nor are they blind guides-this is precisely why they are two, because in order to safeguard the journey there must be a looking ahead and a looking back. Alas, perhaps there was many a one who went astray by mistakenly continuing a good beginning, since the continuation was on a wrong rod, by unremittingly pressing forward-so that regret could not lead him back to the old road. Perhaps there was someone who went astray in the prostration of the repentance that does not move from the spot-so the guide could not help him to find the road forward. When a long procession is to start, there is first a call from the person who is in the lead, but everyone waits until the last one has answered. The two guides call to a person early and late, and if he pays attention to their calls, he finds the road and he can know where he is on the road, because these two calls determine the place and indicate the road, the call of regret perhaps the better, since the casual traveler who goes down the road quickly does not get to know it as does the traveler with his burden. The one who is only striving does not get to know the road as well as the one who regrets; the former hurries ahead to something new-perhaps also away from the experience; but the one who regrets comes along afterward, laboriously gathers up the experience. The two guides call to a person early and late-and yet to so, for when regret calls to a person it is always late. The call to find the road again by seeking God in the confession of sins is always at the eleventh hour.
  • There's only us, there's only this.
    Forget regret, or life is yours to miss.
    No other road, no other way, no day but today.
    I can't control my destiny.
    I trust my soul. My only goal is just to be.
    There's only now, there's only here.
    Give in to love, or live in fear.
    No other path, no other way.
    No day but today.
  • I have made it a rule of my life never to regret and never to look back. Regret is an appalling waste of energy, and no one who intends to become a writer can afford to indulge in it. You can't get it into shape; you can't build on it; it's only good for wallowing in.
  • I don't really regret anything I've done, even if it's bad. I mean, I have a $100,000 Chopard watch. I don't need a $100,000 watch, but I like it. It's all diamonds. That's a little extreme, but I don't care.
    • Tara Reid, FHM Magazine (U.S. issue) interview, when asked if she had ever done anything excessive since becoming a star and later regretted it.
  • It is better to believe in men too rashly, and regret, than believe too meanly.
  • Men, be kind to your fellow-men; this is your first duty, kind to every age and station, kind to all that is not foreign to humanity. What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness? Love childhood, indulge its sports, its pleasures, its delightful instincts. Who has not sometimes regretted that age when laughter was ever on the lips, and when the heart was ever at peace? Why rob these innocents of the joys which pass so quickly, of that precious gift which they cannot abuse? Why fill with bitterness the fleeting days of early childhood, days which will no more return for them than for you? Fathers, can you tell when death will call your children to him? Do not lay up sorrow for yourselves by robbing them of the short span which nature has allotted to them. As soon as they are aware of the joy of life, let them rejoice in it, go that whenever God calls them they may not die without having tasted the joy of life.
  • Mieux vaut faire, et se repentir / Que se repentir, et rien faire
    • It's better to act and to regret / Than to regret not to have acted
    • Mellin de Saint-Gelais, Source: Quatrains, LXXVIII
  • I have often regretted my speech, never my silence.
  • Dear as remembered kisses after death,
    And sweet as those by hopeless fancy feigned
    On lips that are for others; deep as love,—
    Deep as first love, and wild with all regret.
    Oh death in life, the days that are no more!
  • What is the price-current of an honest man and patriot to-day? They hesitate, and they regret, and sometimes they petition; but they do nothing in earnest and with effect. They will wait, well disposed, for others to remedy the evil, that they may no longer have it to regret. At most, they give only a cheap vote, and a feeble countenance and Godspeed, to the right, as it goes by them.
  • It occurred to him that what had appeared perfectly impossible before, namely that he had not spent his life as he should have done, might after all be true. It occurred to him that his scarcely perceptible attempts to struggle against what was considered good by the most highly placed people, those scarcely noticeable impulses which he had immediately suppressed, might have been the real thing, and all the rest false. And his professional duties and the whole arrangement of his life and of his family, and all his social and official interests, might all have been false. He tried to defend all those things to himself and suddenly felt the weakness of what he was defending.
  • I have no regrets. If you regret things, you're sort of stepping backwards. I'm a believer in going forwards.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 661
  • Keen were his pangs, but keener far to feel,
    He nursed the pinion, which impell'd the steel.
    • Lord Byron, English Bards and Scotch Reviewers, line 823
  • Thou wilt lament
    Hereafter, when the evil shall be done
    And shall admit no cure.
    • Homer, The Iliad, Book LX, line 308. Bryant's translation.
  • No simple word
    That shall be uttered at our mirthful board,
    Shall make us sad next morning; or affright
    The liberty that we'll enjoy to-night.
  • O lost days of delight, that are wasted in doubting and waiting!
    O lost hours and days in which we might have been happy!
  • For who, alas! has lived,
    Nor in the watches of the night recalled
    Words he has wished unsaid and deeds undone.

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