Regret is a product of our wishful thinking. In a different reality everything would have been different.
[ 2 min read ]
Regrets are not bad. They can motivate people to “live their lives to their fullest”, as the phrase goes, which means they can push people to do more, finally chase after their dreams or make other important changes in their lives.
But regrets can also haunt us. Be bad. They can give us the impression that we wasted much (or too much) time, or even our whole lives. In extreme cases they can “inspire” us to think that we screwed up completely and be a reason why we suffer. Depressions, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts, they can all be caused by regret.
Regardless of their effect there is no doubt that they’re a result of our imagination. Or rather of our wishful thinking.
The alternative scenarios which we create in our heads (which are the basis for a regret) are always favorable. Without those alternative scenarios (alternative, perfect reality of the past) there would be no regrets. If we didn’t tell ourselves that something could have been better a regret wouldn’t exist. There would be no point.
Were we convinced that a favorable, perfect alternative reality of the past (the improved version of what really happened) was never possible (and that’s what I believe — what happened happened and that’s it, in a different reality everything would have been different, not just this one tiny piece which bothers us), or had we at least assumed that in this alternative reality things we wouldn’t approve of or welcome in our lives at least could happen too (just as the good ones we so eagerly and immediately take for granted, without a moment’s hesitation) we would immediately understand the pointlessness of regrets. Why regret not having moved to NYC, when in our alternative reality of the past we could have died unexpectedly several days before we even set foot on the plane. Why couldn’t it have happened? Why do we always assume that alternative shit wouldn’t have happened.
We are wishful thinkers and that’s why regrets exist in our heads. But they make zero sense. Which doesn’t mean they can’t motivate us to take action, or, to the contrary, become the reason for our depressive state.