50 Inspirational Regret Quotes To Help You Move On and Stop Looking Back


Last Updated on September 22, 2021

If you would be given the chance to do something differently, at any point in your life, would you do it?

Whether people like to admit it or not, we all have regrets. Some, more than others. Regret isn’t just replaying the mistakes you did and wishing things had turned out differently. It could also mean feeling disappointed for a missed opportunity, or being at a loss for the things you didn’t do.

What People Regret the Most

Regrets run deep, sometimes for years. One second can stay with you for the rest of your life. For many, they regret not being at the side their loved ones during their final moments. We tell ourselves we’re going to make the best decisions when the time comes. But when it does, we usually just stand there, our minds blank.

Other big regrets in life include: not confessing your true feelings, forgoing a passion, not switching jobs, missing school, and not speaking up. Often, we put off doing something because we think there’s another day. But the days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months, and months turn into years.

Regret can be good if it propels us to do better. There are individuals who have pondered on their regrets and have decided they are finally going to take that big step forward. And so they do. They quit their jobs and pursue a new hobby; they enrol to a college; they confess their love; they begin travelling and exploring solo.

But what if you can’t make amends? Then you learn to forgive yourself. Don’t let your past dictate your future. There’s still time.

Read these quotes about regret and be inspired to live a life of your choosing.

Stirring Quotes on Regret

1. Most of us have had regrets and recognize how they can hold us back or keep us stuck in life and relationships. Getting past ‘The Past’ is important for anyone desiring to live beyond mistakes and the problems they make. – Ron Neff


2. 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


3. 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


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

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


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


7. 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


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


9. You can’t regret the life you didn’t lead. – Junot Díaz


10. Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are, ‘It might have been. – Kurt Vonnegut


11. Heartbreak could be lived with if it weren’t accompanied by regret. – Laura Kasischke


12. If I’m sincere today, what does it matter if I regret it tomorrow? – José Saramago


13. 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


14. 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


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


16. Not everything’s perfect, especially in the beginning. And its 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


17. The mistakes I’ve made are dead to me. But I can’t take back the things I never did. – Jonathan Safran Foer


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


20. 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


21. 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


22. 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


23. Everybody was sorry. Sorry was easy. Sorry was for suckers. – Gretchen McNeil


24. 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


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


26. If only. Those must be the two saddest words in the world. – Mercedes Lackey


27. In that moment I understood that the cruelest words in the universe are if only. – Lisa See


28. I say things I regret constantly, and I just can’t help it. – Kathy Griffin


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


30. 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


31. A thousand times I was ready to regret and take back my rash statement, yet it had been the truth. – Hermann Hesse


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


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


34. I’m too old to recover, too narrow to forgive myself. – Lillian Hellman


35. 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


36. For of all sad words of tongue or pen, The saddest are these: ‘It might have been! – John Greenleaf Whittier


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


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


39. 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


40. 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


41. 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


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


43. 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


44. 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


45. Never regret. If it’s good, it’s wonderful. If it’s bad, it’s experience. – Victoria Holt


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


47. Our biggest regrets are not for the things we have done but for the things we haven’t done. – Chad Michael Murray


48. 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


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


50. Regret is mostly caused by not having done anything. – Charles Bukowski


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