Blogtalk: Living with Regret

by Amber Lea Starfire on December 2, 2011

Do you regret wrong decisions you’ve made? What does it really mean to feel regret? And is life better without it?

In the following TED talk, Kathryn Schulz makes a strong case for accepting regret as a positive and reasonable emotional response to bad decisions and mistakes. “We should feel pain when things go wrong,” she says.

Schulz lists the ways we commonly deal with the pain of regret—most of them, negative—including denial, bafflement, self-punishment, and obsession. I encourage you to watch her 16-minute video and then continue on to ideas for journaling about this sensitive topic.

If the video isn’t displaying correctly, use this link: Kathryn Schulz Talk

Based on her lecture, explore your unique ways of responding to regret by writing about it:

  • What does regret feel like to you? Describe regret using images.
  • When you feel regret, in what ways do you cope with it or try to make it go away?
  • In what ways do you punish yourself for your perceived mistakes?
  • In what ways do you obsess about the mistakes or wrong decisions you’ve made in life?

Schulz leave us with the following words: “The point isn’t to live without any regrets. The point is to not hate ourselves for having them. We need to learn to love the flawed, imperfect things we create and to forgive ourselves for creating them.”

  • Do you agree with her? And if so, how might you incorporate her advice into your life?

I invite you to join the conversation—leave a comment.

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