There are so many things that each of us can look back with more than a tinge of sorrow. It could be the high school sweetheart that slipped through your fingers. It could be the conversation with a loved one that didn't turn out the way you would have hoped. What about the job opportunity you missed out on, or those words you shouted out in the heat of the moment that haunt you to this very day. Maybe you didn't get to give someone that special message before they departed.
Regret is all around us.
It's a negative emotional state. We blame ourselves for outcomes that didn't go our way and feel a sense of sorrow, or loss, for something that might have been. We can tear ourselves up wishing that we could undo a decision we have previously made.
In the cold light of day, does any of that make sense? We lose out on things that might have been every minute of every day, with each decision that we make. Cause and effect, or causality, is the relation between between one process and another, where the former is understood to be partly responsible for the latter. Our lives and paths are organic, being changed with every decision and action that is made. To rue past mistakes is an exercise in futility as we can't turn back around, re-trace our steps and make a different choice. We have to face the path that is now ahead of us and take the most sensible action we can. My favourite band, The Flaming Lips wrote a great song entitled All We Have Is Now and the title resonates with me because it's so true. The past is gone and the future is yet to come. All we have is...now.
That is not to say that regret can be an exclusively negative emotional state. If you can leverage these feelings into ensuring you refocus and take corrective action down your new path, then it can be embraced. You have to see it for what it is though - a window into something that you have relinquished control over.
Remember - every day is like being reborn. You have a new day, with new opportunities and decisions to make. What you do today is what matters most.