Edith Piaf’s famous song, Je ne regrette rien, has her trumpeting her lack of regret for everything that has happened to her.
I recently came across a fascinating TED talk by the journalist and author Kathryn Schulz who has written a book on regret, Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error. At almost 17 minutes, the video is too long to post here, but here is a money quote from the end:
If we have goals and dreams and we want to do our best, and if we love people and we don’t want to hurt them or lose them, we should feel pain when things go wrong. The point isn’t to live without any regrets, the point is to not hate ourselves for having them… We need to learn to love the flawed, imperfect things that we create, and to forgive ourselves for creating them. Regret doesn’t remind us that we did badly — it reminds us that we know we can do better.
During her talk she shows a graph which shows percentages of what Americans regret most and least: Education (32%), Career (22%), Romance (15%), Parenting (10%)… Family (2.52%), Health (1.47%), Health (1.44%), Spirituality (1.33%)
I’ve been wondering about my own deepest regret and I think it is that, for too much of my life, I haven’t been aware enough to simply live in the moment.
Any regrets you’re willing to share?