Everybody has regrets. Whether it’s something big that you did or didn’t do, or something small that you said or didn’t say – we all want to hop back in time and do it differently. But what are the most common types of regrets? Take a look!
What are the most common types of regrets?
There are many things in life that we may regret. However, some regrets are more common than others. Here are five of the most common types of regrets:
- Regretting a past relationship: We may regret ending a past relationship or not giving it a chance. These regrets can haunt us for years and may even prevent us from being open to new relationships.
- Regretting a missed opportunity: We may regret not taking advantage of an opportunity that came our way. These missed opportunities can range from small, such as not taking a job offer, to big, such as not going to college.
- Regretting a negative decision: We may regret making a negative decision that has led to negative consequences in our lives. For example, we may regret getting involved in drugs or alcohol, or quitting our job without having another one lined up.
- Regretting our words or actions: We may regret saying or doing something that hurt someone else. These regretted words or actions can cause lasting damage to our relationships.
- Regretting wasted time: We may regret wasting time on activities or pursuits that we don’t enjoy or that don’t have any value.
The four main categories of regrets
We all have regrets in life. Some of us have more than others, and some regrets are more significant than others. But there are four main categories of regrets that tend to crop up again and again. If you’re struggling with regret, it might help to identify which category your regret falls into.
- Regrets about things we did
These are the regrets that keep us up at night. We replay the scene over and over in our minds, wishing we could go back and change what happened. We might feel guilty, ashamed, or embarrassed about something we did, said, or thought. These regrets can be hard to let go of because they involve feelings of guilt and self-blame.
- Regrets about things we didn’t do
These regrets usually come in the form of “if only” statements. We think about all the things we could have done differently and how our lives might be different now if we had made different choices. We might regret not taking a certain opportunity, not speaking up for ourselves, or not following our dreams. These regrets can be especially frustrating because we can’t go back and change what we did or didn’t do.
- Regrets about events over which we had no controlWe often regret things that we had no control over, but wish we did. I always feel a pang of regret when I hear about natural disasters and people who die because I think about how awful it must be for the people who survive. I can’t change what happens, but these feelings of regret are sometimes hard to shake.
- Regrets about experiences not fully appreciated at the timeRegret is often driven by an unwillingness to forgive ourselves for a mistake or shortcoming and our inability to accept that it was never ours to begin with – we just happened to be part of it. When you make mistakes in life, instead of punishing yourself, try forgiving yourself and letting go of past.
Why do these regret fall into those four categories?
There are four main categories of regrets: personal, professional, financial, and health-related. Each of these categories can be further broken down into subcategories.
Personal regrets might include not spending enough time with family or friends, not taking care of oneself, or making poor choices in relationships.
Professional regrets might include not taking advantage of opportunities, not working hard enough, or not networking.
Financial regrets might include not saving enough money, overspending, or making bad investments.
Health-related regrets might include not taking care of one’s health, not exercising enough, or eating unhealthily.
Why do people regret these things? In some cases, it may be because they didn’t know any better at the time. In other cases, it may be because they made a conscious choice that didn’t turn out the way they’d hoped. Whatever the reason, it’s important to learn from your mistakes so that you don’t repeat them in the future.
How to avoid succumbing to regrets
There’s no way to avoid regrets altogether. We all have things we wish we could go back and do differently. However, there are ways to minimize the impact that regrets can have on our lives. Here are a few tips:
- Don’t dwell on your mistakes. We all make them, so learn from them and move on.
- Don’t compare yourself to others. You are on your own unique path, so focus on your own journey.
- Live in the present moment as much as possible. This will help you avoid dwelling on past regrets or worrying about future ones.
- Focus on what you can control. You can’t change the past, but you can influence the present and future.
- Be kind to yourself. Forgive yourself for your mistakes and learn from them.