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117 Inspiring Quotes For When You’re Feeling Regret

Regret is a universal feeling that we all experience at some point in our lives. Whether it's a missed opportunity, a mistake we made, or something we wish we had done differently, regret can weigh heavily on our hearts and minds.

But while it can be painful to dwell on the past, there is something powerful about facing our regrets and finding ways to move forward.

One way to do this is by seeking out quotes about regret.

Quotes can offer insight, comfort, and inspiration, reminding us that we're not alone in our struggles and that there is hope for healing and growth.

As someone who has struggled with regret myself, I've found solace in the wisdom of others.

Quotes about regret have helped me gain perspective on my mistakes, learn from them, and move forward with a greater sense of purpose and clarity.

One of my favorite quotes about regret comes from the famous writer and poet Maya Angelou, who once said, "I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better."

This quote reminds me that we are all doing the best we can with the knowledge and resources we have at any given moment.

It's only when we gain new insights and perspectives that we can begin to make different choices and take different actions.

Another powerful quote about regret comes from the philosopher and writer Seneca, who wrote, "Regret is the punishment for inattention." This quote reminds me that regret often arises when we're not fully present in the moment or when we make choices without fully considering the consequences.

By being more mindful and intentional in our actions, we can minimize the chances of regret.

Whether you're grappling with a specific regret or simply seeking inspiration for living a more intentional life, quotes about regret can offer valuable insights and guidance.

In the pages of this article, we'll explore some of the most insightful and thought-provoking quotes about regret, and offer tips for applying their wisdom to your own life.

So, grab a cup of tea, settle in, and let's explore the transformative power of regret together.

71 Regret Quotes That Will Help You To Move Forward

1. "I see it all perfectly, there are two possible situations, one can either do this or that. My honest opinion and my friendly advice is this: do it or do not do it, you will regret both.” – Soren Kierkegaard

2. “The one thing I learned is to just give everything a shot. You don't want to live in regret.” – Chloe Kim

3. “Never regret. If it’s good, it’s wonderful. If it’s bad, it’s experience.” – Victoria Holt

4. “Forget regret, or life is yours to miss. No other path, no other way, no day but today.” – Jonathan Larson

5. “Have you ever hoped for something? And held out for it against all the odds? Until everything you did was ridiculous?” – Ali Shaw

6. “When tomorrow comes this day will be gone forever, but I shall hold something which I have traded for it. It may be no more than a memory, but if it is a worthy one I shall not regret the price.” – Unknown

7. “We cannot always change what has happened to us, but we can change how we react and how we live in the future. Living with no regrets is living successfully.” – Dr. Ellen Taricani

8. “Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are, It might have been.” – Kurt Vonnegut

9. “Stop fretting about past decisions. They have provided valuable wisdom. Go forward without fear or regret.” – Paul Martens

10. “Our biggest regrets are not for the things we have done but for the things we haven't done.” – Chad Michael Murray

11. “Regret is counterproductive. It's looking back on a past that you can't change. Questioning things as they occur can prevent regret in the future.” – Colleen Hoover

12. “There are two kinds of guilt: the kind that drowns you until you’re useless, and the kind that fires your soul to purpose.” – Sabaa Tahir

There are two kinds of guilt: the kind that drowns you until you’re useless, and the kind that fires your soul to purpose.

13. “Regret is an odd emotion because it comes only upon reflection. Regret lacks immediacy, and so its power seldom influences events when it could do some good.” – William O’Rourke

14. “I want to undo this. To make it right. But I have no idea how. I don't seem to know how to open up to people without getting the door slammed in my face. So I do nothing.” – Gayle Forman

15. “We have to let go of all blame, all attacking, all judging, to free our inner selves to attract what we say we want.” – Joe Vitale

16. “Living with regrets was like driving a car that only moved in reverse.” – Jodi Picoult

17. “Looking back, I have this to regret . . . that too often when I loved, I did not say so.” – David Grayson

18. “Make it a rule of life never to regret and never to look back. Regret is an appalling waste of energy; you can't build on it; it's only good for wallowing in.” – Katherine Mansfield

19. “You can't regret the life you didn't lead.” – Junot Díaz


20. “Most of us have had regrets and recognize how they can hold us back or keep us stuck in life and relationships. Overcoming the past is important for anyone desiring to live beyond mistakes and the problems they make.” – Ron Neff

21. “Regret, remorse, sorrow all emotions that can result in negative feelings. Only you can change your emotions to positive ones, you cannot change the past but you can change the future” – Catherine Pulsifer

22. “Never regret trusting someone. It proves you have a heart. But if he turns out to be a lying worm, I'm not going to waste my time crying. Because I am way too fabulous for that.” – Jude Watson

23. “Many people choose to dwell on their failures. This leads to unnecessary worrying, regret, shame, and stress. Instead of dwelling on the past, you can reflect on your experiences and use negative situations as a learning experience.” – Morris Pratt

24. “The essential sadness is to go through life without loving. But it would be almost equally sad to leave this world without ever telling those you loved that you love them.” – Unknown

25. “I would much rather have regrets about not doing what people said, than regretting not doing what my heart led me to and wondering what life had been like if I’d just been myself.” – Brittany Renee

26. “The mistakes I've made are dead to me. But I can't take back the things I never did.” – Jonathan Safran Foer

27. “The only things I regret, and the only things I’ll ever regret are things I didn’t do. In the end, that’s what we mourn. The paths we didn’t take. The people we didn’t touch.” – Scott Spencer

28. “Regret is mostly caused by not having done anything.” – Charles Bukowski

Regret is mostly caused by not having done anything.

29. “The longer our trail of regrets, the more we tend to value the importance of making wise decisions.” – Bob Santos

30. “Make the most of your regrets; never smother your sorrow, but tend and cherish it till it comes to have a separate and integral interest. To regret deeply is to live afresh.” – Henry David Thoreau

31. “Not everything's perfect, especially in the beginning. And it's all right to have a little bit of regret every once in a while. It's when you feel it all the time and can't do anything about it. That's when you get into trouble.” – Sarah Dessen

32. “Never regret anything from your past because one day, you’ll look back and thank it for hurting you so much that you decided to become a stronger human being.” – Faith Star

33. “Regrets are not inherited. Regrets are those elements of life that seek to undermine our enthusiasm and our willingness to assume a life filled with new discoveries and the attainment of goals. Let not your regrets be your undoing but instead your vehicle to learn from what did not work.” – Byron Pulsifer

34. “The past could always be annihilated. Regret, denial, or forgetfulness could do that. But the future was inevitable.” – Oscar Wilde

35. “If you had to relive your life exactly as it was, same successes and failures, same happiness, same miseries, same mixture of comedy and tragedy, would you want to? Was it worth it?” – Gavin Extence

36. “In history as in human life, regret does not bring back a lost moment and a thousand years will not recover something lost in a single hour.” – Stefan Zweig

37. “Everybody was sorry. Sorry was easy. Sorry was for suckers.” – Gretchen McNeil

38. “Something you need most might be something you turn away from, something you turn away from might be something you regret, and something you regret, in the end, might cost you the one chance you ever had.” – Brian Judge


39. “Four things do not come back: the spoken word, the sped arrow, the past life, and the neglected opportunity.” – Ted Chiang

40. “Have no regrets. The elderly usually don’t have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets.” – Unknown

41. “If I'm sincere today, what does it matter if I regret it tomorrow?” – José Saramago

If I'm sincere today, what does it matter if I regret it tomorrow?

42. “Regret is an unavoidable result of any loss, for in loss we lose the tomorrow that we needed to make right our yesterday or today.” – Gerald Lawson Sittser

43. “If only. Those must be the two saddest words in the world.” – Mercedes Lackey

44. “Don’t allow yourself to become one who, nearing death, regrets what you might have done if only you had taken a few risks we each have a purpose in life.” – Gillian Stokes

45. “There was a long hard time when I kept far from me the remembrance of what I had thrown away when I was quite ignorant of its worth.” – Charles Dickens

46. “If you are afraid to take a chance, take one anyway. What you don't do can create the same regrets as the mistakes you make.” – Iyanla Vanzant

47. “If we fill our hours with regrets over the failures of yesterday, we have no today in which to be thankful.” – Anonymous

48. “Heartbreak could be lived with if it weren't accompanied by regret.” – Laura Kasischke

49. “Don’t live your life regretting yesterday. Live your life so tomorrow you won’t regret today.” – Catherine Pulsifer

50. “If you live long enough, you’ll make mistakes. But if you learn from them, you’ll be a better person. It’s how you handle adversity, not how it affects you. The main thing is never quit, never quit, never quit.” – William J. Clinton

51. “Regrets are idle; yet history is one long regret. Everything might have turned out so differently.” – Charles Dudley Warner

52. “Maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets.” – Arthur Miller

53. “I'd rather regret the things I've done than regret the things I haven't done.” – Lucille Ball

54. “We all make mistakes, have struggles, and even regret things in our past. But you are not your mistakes, you are not your struggles, and you are here now with the power to shape your day and your future.” – Steve Maraboli

55. “Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.” – Sydney J. Harris

56. “We all make mistakes in life that's true. Some little, some big, some simple and some more complex. Some mistakes we regret forever.” – Rashard Royster

57. “I try to face things without regret, or make sure that I'm happy with things and leave nothing unsaid if I can.” – Hozier

I try to face things without regret, or make sure that I'm happy with things and leave nothing unsaid if I can.

58. “First, imagine taking the potentially regret – producing path of inaction. Then imagine what the very best outcome would be were you to take this risk. By picturing both scenarios in advance, you can avoid the regret of what might have been.” – Wayne Dyer

59. “Regrets are pointless. It's too late for regrets. You've already done it, haven't you? You've lived your life. No point wishing you could change it.” – Lemmy Kilmister


60. “Regret is a tough but fair teacher. To live without regret is to believe you have nothing to learn, no amends to make, and no opportunity to be braver with your life. ” – Brene Brown

61. “The advance of regret can be so gradual that it is impossible to say: Yesterday I was happy, Today I am not.” – E.M. Forster

62. “There are moments in your life where you realize you could do nothing, but if you do, you'll probably regret it forever.” – Milana Vayntrub

63. “There is no point in regretting for things that have happened but it makes a big difference to think about a solution or idea to change the unexpected outcome or effects of the choices made.” – Lindsay Hallie

64. “Never regret yesterday. Life is in you today and you make your tomorrow.” – L. Ron Hubbard

65. “Sensitive people either love deeply or they regret deeply. There really is no middle ground because they live in passionate extremes.” – Shannon L. Alder

66. “We all do things we desperately wish we could undo. Those regrets just become part of who we are, along with everything else. To spend time trying to change that, well, it’s like chasing clouds.” – Libba Bray

67. “Uncertainty is the worst of all evils until the moment when reality makes us regret uncertainty.” – Alphonse Karr

68. “I never regret anything. Because every little detail of your life is what made you into who you are in the end.” – Drew Barrymore

69. “I made decisions that I regret, and I took them as learning experiences. I'm human, not perfect, like anybody else.” – Queen Latifah

70. “No amount of guilt can change the past and no amount of worrying can change the future.” – Umar ibn Al-Khattab

No amount of guilt can change the past and no amount of worrying can change the future.

71. “When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.” – Alexander Graham Bell

46 Regret Quotes To Let Go Of Mistakes & Move On In Life

72. “Sometimes I wish life was written pencil so we could erase it and write it all over again.” – Thisuri Wanniarachchi

73. “Never regret anything you have done with a sincere affection; nothing is lost that is born of the heart.” – Basil Rathbone

74. “When we grow old, there can only be one regret, not to have given enough of ourselves.” – Eleonora Duse

75. “When you loved someone and had to let them go, there will always be that small part of yourself that whispers, “What was it that you wanted and why didn’t you fight for it?” – Shannon Alder

76. “It is not the experience of Today that drives a person mad, it is the remorse or bitterness of something which happened Yesterday and the dread of what Tomorrow may bring.” – Unknown


77. “Mistakes we make in the past sometimes keep us connected. Heartache sometimes keeps us connected.” – Jacqueline Simon Gunn

78. “You can never regret anything you do in life. You kind of have to learn the lesson from whatever the experience is and take it with you on your journey forward.” – Aubrey O'Day

79. “We should have taken our chances back then, when we were young and beautiful and didn't even know it.” – Lois McMaster Bujold

80. “Trust before you love, know before you judge, commit before you promise, forgive before you forget and appreciate before you regret.” – Unknown

81. “There is no more disastrous mania, no more dangerous whim, than the speculation over roads not taken.” – Juan Gabriel Vásquez

82. “When it’s gone, you’ll know what a gift love was. You’ll suffer like this. So go back and fight to keep it.” – Ian McEwan

When it’s gone, you’ll know what a gift love was. You’ll suffer like this. So go back and fight to keep it.

83. “If we don’t deal with the roots of our regrets, if we don’t make the choice to start over, the costs of what we’re missing out on can be enormous and will accrue exponentially over time.” – Dave Ferguson

84. “A great source of calamity lies in regret and anticipation; therefore a person is wise who thinks of the present alone, regardless of the past or future.” – Oliver Goldsmith

85. “The only calibration that counts is how much heart people invest, how much they ignore their fears of being hurt or caught out or humiliated. And the only thing people regret is that they didn’t live boldly enough, that they didn’t invest enough heart, didn’t love enough. Nothing else really counts at all.” – Ted Hughes

86. “We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.” – Jim Rohn

87. “Never ignore a person who loves and cares for you, because one day you may realize that you’ve lost the moon while counting the stars.” – Anonymous

88. “Get correct views of life, and learn to see the world in its true light. It will enable you to live pleasantly, to do good, and, when summoned away, to leave without regret.” – Robert E. Lee

89. “Sadly enough, the most painful goodbyes are the ones that are left unsaid and never explained.” – Johnathan Harnisch

90. “I'm too old to recover, too narrow to forgive myself.” – Lillian Hellman

91. “There was once a love which I did not learn to cherish, it was only when I lost it that I felt extreme regret. There is no worse experience than such feeling.” – Unknown

92. “Regret doesn't remind us that we did badly. It reminds us that we know we can do better.” – Kathryn Schulz

93. “Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.” – Kahlil Gibran

94. “We crucify ourselves between two thieves: regret for yesterday and fear of tomorrow.” – Fulton Oursler

95. “One of the greatest regrets in life is being what others would want you to be, rather than being yourself.” – Shannon L. Alder


96. “People should not judge failed love affairs as failed experiences, but as part of the growth process. Something does not have to end well for it to have been one of the most valuable experiences of a lifetime.” – Ethel Person

97. “Never take anyone for granted…we never seem to realize what we have until it is no longer ours then it becomes the only thing we want.” – Unknown

98. “I think to regret is useless in life. It belongs to the past.” – Marlon Brando

I think to regret is useless in life. It belongs to the past.

99. “In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take, the relationships we were afraid to have, and the decisions we waited too long to make.” – Lewis Carroll

100. “Unforgiving hearts die in regret.” – Unknown

101. “When something goes wrong in your life, it doesn't finish you, and you should become braver, knowing that you've got to go for things in life and don't regret because you didn't try to be as good as you might be.” – Gareth Southgate

102. “Don’t make my mistake. Don’t let yourself be so angry that you stop loving. Because one day you’ll wake up from that anger, and the person you love will be gone.” – Dawson’s Creek

103. “Regret is the worst human emotion. If you took another road, you might have fallen off a cliff. I'm content.” – William Shatner

104. “I wish I could turn back the clock. I’d find you sooner and love you longer.” – Unknown

105. “Hurting people you love is the heaviest kind of regret.” – Charlotte Eriksson

106. “The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost.” – G.K. Chesterson

107. “When someone you love says goodbye you can stare long and hard at the door they closed and forget to see all the doors God has open in front of you.” – Shannon Adler

108. “What the heart has once owned and had, it shall never lose.” – Henry Ward Beecher

109. “It is better to look ahead and prepare than to look back and regret.” – Jackie Joyner Kersee

110. “There is no need to lament on the bygone failures, instead concentrate on things that you can change and let other things take their own course.” – Robert Gallagher

111. “Don’t regret knowing the people who came into your life. Good people give you happiness. Bad ones give you experience. The worst ones give you lessons and the best people give you memories.” – Unknown

112. “Love is never lost. If not reciprocated, it will flow back and soften and purify the heart.” – Washington Irvin

Love is never lost. If not reciprocated, it will flow back and soften and purify the heart.

113. “‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” – Alfred Lord Tennyson

114. “And perhaps some will never understand, it is mostly the farewells that unite us, and last in our memory forever, even more than the first meeting.” – Mimi Novic

115. “What hurts more; the pain of ‘what ifs’, or the pain of rejection?” – Izey Odiase

116. “There’s this place in me where your fingerprints still rest, your kisses still linger, and your whispers softly echo. It’s the place where a part of you will forever be a part of me.” – Gretchen Kemp

117. “Who knows how long I’ve loved you, you know I love you still. Will I wait a lonely lifetime? If you want me to I will.” – The Beatles


How Can Reading Quotes About Regret Be Beneficial?

Reading quotes about overcoming regret can be beneficial in several ways:

  1. Gain Perspective: Quotes can offer a fresh perspective on our regrets, helping us to see our mistakes in a new light. By gaining a different viewpoint, we can start to reframe our regrets and see them as opportunities for growth and learning.
  2. Find Comfort: Regrets can be painful and isolating, but reading quotes from others who have experienced similar feelings can provide a sense of comfort and connection. Quotes can remind us that we're not alone in our struggles and that others have found a way to move past their regrets.
  3. Find Inspiration: Quotes can inspire us to take action and make positive changes in our lives. By offering wisdom and guidance, quotes can help us identify the steps we need to take to overcome our regrets and live more fulfilling lives.
  4. Promote Self-Reflection: Reading quotes about overcoming regret can encourage us to reflect on our own lives and choices. By taking time to think deeply about our regrets and their root causes, we can start to make meaningful changes and move forward in a more intentional way.
  5. Encourage Forgiveness: Many quotes about overcoming regret focus on the importance of forgiveness, both for ourselves and for others. By learning to forgive ourselves and others, we can release the burden of our regrets and move forward with greater peace and clarity.

Next Steps

Implementing quotes about regret into daily life can be a helpful way to stay motivated and focused on personal growth.

Here are a few ways to incorporate quotes into your daily routine:

  1. Write Them Down: Choose a few quotes about regret that resonate with you and write them down in a journal or notebook. Keep this journal with you throughout the day and refer to it whenever you need a reminder of the wisdom and insight that the quotes offer.
  2. Use Them As Affirmations: Take a few minutes each morning to repeat a quote about regret as an affirmation. By speaking the words out loud, you can start your day with a positive mindset and a sense of purpose.
  3. Display Them In Your Home Or Workspace: Print out your favorite quotes about regret and display them in places where you'll see them frequently, such as your bedroom, office, or kitchen. Seeing the quotes throughout the day can serve as a gentle reminder to stay focused on personal growth and moving past regrets.
  4. Discuss Them With Friends Or Loved Ones: Share quotes about regret with friends or loved ones and discuss how they resonate with you. By talking about regrets and personal growth with others, you can gain new insights and perspectives that can be helpful in your own journey.
  5. Apply Their Wisdom To Your Life: Finally, the most important way to implement quotes about regret into daily life is to apply their wisdom to your own life. Use the insights and guidance offered by the quotes to identify areas of personal growth, make positive changes in your life, and move forward with greater purpose and clarity.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Benefit Of Reading Quotes About Regret?

Reading quotes about regret can help us gain a new perspective on our past mistakes and help us reframe our regrets as opportunities for growth and learning.

They can also provide comfort and inspiration to move past our regrets and live more intentionally.

Can Quotes About Regret Really Help Me Overcome My Regrets?

Quotes alone may not be enough to completely overcome deep-seated regrets, but they can provide motivation, guidance, and a new way of thinking about our past mistakes.

By incorporating the wisdom and insights of others into our lives, we can gain a better understanding of ourselves and our regrets and begin taking meaningful steps towards growth and healing.

What Are Some Of The Most Inspiring Quotes About Regret?

There are countless quotes about regret, but some of the most inspiring ones include:

  • "I have no regrets in my life. I think that everything happens to you for a reason. The hard times that you go through build character, making you a much stronger person." - Rita Mero
  • "Regret is a useless emotion. You can't change the past, so why bother dwelling on it?" - Leo Buscaglia
  • "It's not what you did in the past that will define you, but what you do in the present and the future." - Unknown

These quotes offer different perspectives on regret and the importance of focusing on the present and the future rather than dwelling on the past.

117 Inspiring Quotes For When You’re Feeling Regret