Happines may even include regrets

Happines may even include regrets

by Todd Kashdan for Psychology Today

When I give seminars in colleges and corporations, I often ask if anyone has regrets in their life. If so, I ask them to raise their hand. Would you raise your hand? If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be alone. More than 8 out of 10 people look me in the eye, stick out their chest with pride, and shoot their hands into the air for all to see. 80% of people lived an entire life without any regrets. Either I am surrounded by the most mindful, compassionate communicators and problem-solvers in the world or what I am witnessing is how people are concerned about their public image.

As scientists, we have learned a lot about regret. The Butthole Surfers, a punk rock band in the 80’s, captured the findings best in their lyrics to “Sweet Loaf” off their album Locust Abortion Technician:

Daddy, what does regret mean?
Well son, the funny thing about regret is,
It’s better to regret something you have done,
Than to regret something you haven’t done.

While I do listen to the Butthole Surfers on occasion, you might be surprised to know that they are not the definitive authority on the subject. I define regret as what we feel when we realize that our current situation might be better if we decided to act differently. It’s a backward looking, unpleasant feeling where you blame yourself and wish you could undo the past. Perhaps you felt regret when you shared the good news with co-workers that your heroin problem last year should have little impact on your pregnancy. Or when you told your kids to shut the $%# up after listening to them whine for four hours on a car trip.

Here are a few interesting scientific discoveries about regret to meditate on…

…find out more about enjoying happiness even with regret – HERE