Regret is a wasted emotion

Live with no regrets

From what I’ve read and talked about with others, it seems that we humans are prone to occasional flashbacks and sudden pangs that we classify under the banner ‘regret’. “I should have done this”, or “I could have done that” eat us up inside.

I’ve just been browsing a HN thread on this topic from yesterday and there’s the usual regrets (staying in a relationship, walking away from something earlier, recognising things for what they are) but also some sage advice from the community.

The Stoic approach to regret is summed up well in today’s reading from a new book entitled The Daily Stoic : 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living:

Don’t seek for everything to happen as you wish it would, but rather wish that everything happens as it actually will—then your life will flow well. — Epictetus, Enchiridion, 8

The heart, the centre of Stoicism is that there are things that you as an individual can control and things that you cannot control. We should focus on the former. Reading through that HN thread showed how much of life people, whether through hubris or something else, think is within their control.

Image CC BY Jason Howie