Does Knowing Other People’s Regrets Help Us Avoid Them?

Knowing what other people regret can help you to avoid making the same mistakes yourself. For instance, knowing specific regrets of others in areas of romance, family, job, or educational path can hopefully lead you to weigh your decisions and behaviors more carefully so that you don’t make the same mistakes as others.

However, no one can truly live a life without regrets because we aren’t perfect; we all make mistakes and wish we had done some things differently (maybe a relationship that didn’t work or a job you wish you hadn’t taken) or wish we had taken some steps that we opted not to (maybe getting more education or a degree in a different area than you actually got). It’s important to know that regrets have their benefits because, as we all make mistakes, regrets help us to reflect on them and make improvements in our own lives. The greater the sting of a regret, the more motivated we might be to do something about it.

Mike Morrison is a doctoral student in psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Category: Q&A

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