Why REGRETS makes us human

By Jernavis Draughn

Psychotherapists believe regrets are created by a comparison between the actual outcome and that outcome that would have occurred had the decision maker made a different choice. We all have regrets from the past that were currently working to forgive ourselves for doing or not doing. Our destiny is determined by our decisions. Decision making is a skillset that can be developed over time. Being able to discern and make outcome based decisions leads to less regrets in our life. What we think determines who we are. Who we are determines what we do. Our core values and beliefs drive our decisions and all behaviors are belief driven.

In the book The Power of Regret, by Daniel Pink, believes regrets make us human and BETTER. He discusses three benefits of regret:

  1. Regret can improve decisions.
  2. Regret can boost performance.
  3. Regret can deepen meaning.

When feeling is for thinking, and thinking is for doing, regret is for making us better. Pink believes there’s, “Four Core Regrets”.

  1. Foundation Regrets. Our failure to be responsible, and do what is right, prudent or conscientious. “If only I’d done the work!”
  2. Boldness Regrets. We regret the chances we didn’t take than the chances we did. “If only I’d taken the risk!”
  3. Moral Regrets. When we behave poorly or compromise our belief in our own goodness, regret can build and then persist. “If only I’d done the right thing!”
  4. Connection Regrets. When those relationships fray or disappear or never develop, we feel an abiding loss and regret. “If only I reached out!”

We typically regret failure to pursue opportunities or failure to fulfill obligations. Opportunity only knocks once and we have to be prepared mentally to walk through the door. Especially when we fail to reach our potential within an opportunity that is presented. The other side of regrets stems from us not making the right decision to call, apologize, or reach out. Pink provides three steps to overcoming/dealing with regrets.

1. Self-Disclosure. Relive and Relieve.

Example: Tell someone your regret or write about it. It helps you release it.

2. Self-Compassion. Normalize and neutralize.

Example: Confront your regret and forgive yourself.

3. Self-Distancing. Analyze and strategize.

Example: Learn from the regret, evolve and change your future behavior.

I believe this is a must read for anyone who wants to understand the power of regrets, the impact they have on our life and how to overcome them. Pink, helps you reclaim regret as an indispensable emotion and to show you how to use it as strength to make better decisions, perform better at work and school, and bring greater meaning to your life. Regrets make us human. Regret makes us better. Regret gives us hope.

Quote of the Day: “If we know what we truly regret, we know what we truly value.”-Daniel Pink

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *