Today I’m continuing with the A-Z Blogging Challenge. I’m doing an A-Z of human emotions, feelings and mental states and today is the letter R. I couldn’t choose between Remorse and Regret, and as they are so similar I decided to do both.
Remorse and regret are very similar emotions. They both involve a negative feeling about a past action that you have done. However, there is a difference between them. Remorse is the feeling that you wish you hadn’t taken that action because it was wrong and if you had the opportunity to do it again you would do something different. Regret, on the other hand, is the feeling that you are sorry for doing that action because of the harm it caused to yourself or another, but it doesn’t neccessarily mean you would do things differently if given another chance. Remorse is concerned with right versus wrong action, while regret is concerned with good versus bad consequences. So if you feel guilty because you have made a wrong decision and you should have behaved differently, you are expressing remorse. However, if you feel you made the right decision but you still feel guilty about the negative consequences it caused to yourself or others, what you are feeling is regret. Remorse usually describes a deeper emotion than regret. It involves anguish, guilt and repentance brought about by the feeling that you have done something morally wrong, not just something that had negative consequences.
I am often remorseful when I do or say something that I think was really wrong of me, and on those occasions I try to apologise and set things straight. Regrets, on the other hand, seem pretty pointless. I often think ‘I wish I had done that..’ but you can’t usually go back and change things and in all honesty, would you want to? Things that seem like mistakes at the time can often turn out to be lucky breaks, or at the very least to teach you a lesson and reduce the chances of that happening again. You must have heard the famous quote: “When you look back on your life, you’ll regret the things you didn’t do more than the ones you did.” I think that’s true. You always look back and wish you’d plucked up the courage to ask that man out or go to that party or confront that person who wronged you. That’s why I think it’s usually best to go with your instincts, follow your curiosity and do what you want to do at the time instead of always wondering what would have happened ‘if only you had done that..’. Then at least you can say you tried everything, even if it didn’t work out.
Now I’ll leave you with a classic…enjoy!