Living Without Regrets


Regret is nothing but a waste;
Therefore, do not regret.
See the light, feel the light, become the light
Of today’s dawn
And try not, cry not
To see yesterday’s stars, moon and sun.
They are gone.
They should be buried in oblivion-night.

– Sri Chinmoy

It is easy to be burdened with regrets. The mind will offer us innumerable – if only I had…

Yet, regret doesn’t help in any way.

“Non, je ne regrette rien” – The famous refrain of Edith Piaf is also a powerful motto for life. These are some practical tips to live a life without regrets.

1. Live in the Present

If we live completely in the present moment, how can we be regretting the past? It is in the present moment that we can truly live and enjoy life. The problem is that it is easy to say we should live in the present but, to actually do it is not so easy. Living in the present requires constant remembrance. The nature of the mind is to think of the past and speculate on the future. We need to retrain the mind; when we start regretting the past, just gently remind yourself to go back to the present moment.

2. Do What You Can

This simple but effective idea is to do what we can, given our current situation. Regretting the past will not help improve our current situation; in fact it can make it worse. We have to be wise and make the best choices and actions given our present state. We cannot change the past, no matter how bitterly we wish we can. But, if we focus 100% on doing what we can then we may be frequently surprised at how much we can alleviate our current situation.

3. Don’t Live With A Guilty Conscience

Guilt can be a weight around our neck, which does nothing to help us. The great spiritual master, Sri Ramakrishna said something most significant. He said “the person who goes around saying ‘I am a sinner, I am a sinner’ – this person will remain a sinner.” But, why maintain this attitude? Rather than focusing on our past ‘sins’ we have to feel that this is not our real self. If we have the capacity to ‘sin’ we also have the capacity to do the right thing and lead a good life. It is focusing on good things that will make us a better person. Focusing on our past mistakes will just lower our consciousness not make us feel any better. See also: Overcoming persistent guilt

4. Be At Peace With Yourself.

Often our regrets result from the disappointment of others. Maybe we have made our choices but, despite our honest effort, they are displeased with us. Therefore, we are regretting not that we did the wrong thing, but, that we failed to meet other people’s expectations.
We will never be able to please the expectations of others. Therefore, we have to just follow our inner intuition and live the life that we think is best for us. If others don’t agree with our choices, then we have to be detached.

5. Don’t Regret Mistakes.

“The only man who makes no mistakes is the man who never does anything.”

– Theodore Roosevelt

To make progress, mistakes, failure and even humiliation are inevitable. The problem is we only value success. But, this is wrong. Failure is the flip side of success. You cannot have one without the other. Great scientists say how success often comes after 99 failures. It is a good job Einstein didn’t give up with regrets before his eventual success.

See also:

Photo by Ahuta, Sri Chinmoy Centre galleries.

One thought on “Living Without Regrets”

  1. I have a poster of Buddha that has his quote on it, which says:
    “The secret of health for both mind and body, is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future or anticipate trouble, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
    Every time i think of the past mistakes or failiures i remember Buddha, and that gets my mind to concentrate on the present.

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