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140 Regret Quotes That Will Help You Grow As A Person

140 Regret Quotes That Will Help You Grow As A Person

Regrets can make us or break us.

It whispers of missed chances, untaken leaps, and paths left unexplored. It is the ache that accompanies reflection, reminding us of the fragility of time and the weight of our choices. 

In this poignant journey, I invite you to delve into the profound realm of regret quotes. Through these words of introspection, we uncover the raw vulnerability and profound insights that lie beneath the surface. 

They are reminders of the universal struggles we share, the wounds that shape us, and the resilience that emerges from embracing our regrets. 

Prepare to be moved, as these heartfelt quotes illuminate the human condition, stirring emotions and offering solace to those seeking meaning amidst life’s trials

Join us on this exploration of regret quotes, the best ones that I gathered from the Internet, that I am sure will find a special place in your heart.

10 Best Regret Quotes

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

a man looking sad representing regret quote

2. “Time was passing like a hand waving from a train I wanted to be on.

I hope you never have to think about anything as much as I think about you.” ― Jonathan Safran Foer

3. “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, Either/Or: A Fragment of Life

4. “I’ve got a bad case of the 3:00 am guilts – you know, when you lie in bed awake and replay all those things you didn’t do right? Because, as we all know, nothing solves insomnia like a nice warm glass of regret, depression and self-loathing.” ― D.D. Barant, Dying Bites

5. “Maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets.” ― Arthur Miller, The Ride Down Mt. Morgan

A close-up black and white portrait of a man representing quote about regret

6. “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

7. “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

8. “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 Alder

9. “Heartbreak could be lived with if it weren’t accompanied by regret.” ― Laura Kasischke, The Raising

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

The monochrome image of a man's face, filled with anguish and regret, representing regret quote

30 Famous Regret Quotes

1. “If I’m sincere today, what does it matter if I regret it tomorrow?” ― José Saramago, Blindness

A black and white photograph showcasing a bridge overlooking the sea representing regrets quote

2. “The feelings that hurt most, the emotions that sting most, are those that are absurd – The longing for impossible things, precisely because they are impossible; nostalgia for what never was; the desire for what could have been; regret over not being someone else; dissatisfaction with the world’s existence. All these half-tones of the soul’s consciousness create in us a painful landscape, an eternal sunset of what we are.” ― Fernando Pessoa

3. “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, Letters of Ted Hughes

4. “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, Great Expectations

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

A monochrome image of a bridge disappearing into the distance representing deep regret quote

6. “I don’t think I could love you so much if you had nothing to complain of and nothing to regret. I don’t like people who have never fallen or stumbled. Their virtue is lifeless and of little value. Life hasn’t revealed its beauty to them.” ― Boris Pasternak, Doctor Zhivago

7. The mistakes I’ve made are dead to me. But I can’t take back the things I never did.”

― Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

8. “If you simply ignored the feeling, you would never know what might happen, and in many ways that was worse than finding out in the first place. Because if you were wrong, you could go forward in your life without ever looking back over your shoulder and wondering what might have been.” ― Nicholas Sparks, Message in a Bottle

9. “It’s not that we have to quit

this life one day, but it’s how

many things we have to quit

all at once: music, laughter,

the physics of falling leaves,

automobiles, holding hands,

the scent of rain, the concept

of subway trains… if only one

could leave this life slowly!” ― Roman Payne, Rooftop Soliloquy

10. “Regret is mostly caused by not having done anything.” ― Charles Bukowski, You Get So Alone at Times That it Just Makes Sense

A grayscale view of a bridge extending over the sea representing quote on regret

11. “Droll thing life is — that mysterious arrangement of merciless logic for a futile purpose. The most you can hope from it is some knowledge of yourself — that comes too late — a crop of inextinguishable regrets.” ― Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

12. “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

13. “You’d think, ‘What if I make a mistake today, I’ll regret it’. I don’t believe in regret, I feel everything leads us to where we are and we have to just jump forward, mean well, commit and just see what happens.” ― Angelina Jolie

14. “Our biggest regrets are not for the things we have done but for the things we haven’t done” ― Chad Michael Murray

15. “The only victories which leave no regret are those which are gained over ignorance.” ― Napoleon Bonaparte

A black and white photo of a bridge spanning across the water representing quotation regret

16. “Hindsight, I think, is a useless tool. We, each of us, are at a place in our lives because of innumerable circumstances, and we, each of us, have a responsibility (if we do not like where we are) to move along life’s road, to find a better path if this one does not suit, or to walk happily along this one if it is indeed our life’s way. Changing even the bad things that have gone before would fundamentally change who we are, and whether or not that would be a good thing, I believe, it is impossible to predict.

So I take my past experiences… and try to regret nothing.” ― R.A. Salvatore, Sea of Swords

17. “No, I regret nothing, all I regret is having been born, dying is such a long tiresome business I always found.” ― Samuel Beckett

18. “I am grateful for all those dark years, even though in retrospect they seem like a long, bitter prayer that was answered finally.” ― Marilynne Robinson

19. “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, Endless Love

20. “The past could always be annihilated. Regret, denial, or forgetfulness could do that. But the future was inevitable.” ― Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

A monochromatic scene of a bridge overlooking the calm waters of the sea representing quote about regret

21. “For it falls out

That what we have we prize not to the worth

Whiles we enjoy it, but being lacked and lost,

Why, then we rack the value, then we find

The virtue that possession would not show us

While it was ours.” ― William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing

22. “i dont love you… like i loved you… yesterday.” ― Gerard Way

23. “In my terms, I settled for the realities of life, and submitted to its necessities: if this, then that, and so the years passed. In Adrian’s terms, I gave up on life, gave up on examining it, took it as it came. And so, for the first time, I began to feel a more general remorse – a feeling somewhere between self-pity and self-hatred – about my whole life. All of it. I had lost the friends of my youth. I had lost the love of my wife. I had abandoned the ambitions I had entertained. I had wanted life not to bother me too much, and had succeeded – and how pitiful that was.” ― Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending

24. “Speak when you’re angry, and you’ll make the best speech you’ll ever regret.” ― Lawrence J. Peter

25. “I don’t do regrets. 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 7

A black and white image of a bridge framed against the vastness of the sea representing regret quote

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

27. “The skeletons of the past must not hold back the dream of a new life, even though fear and regret, guilt and remorse may unsettle us during the effort to give our future a new home. (“Into a new life”)” ― Erik Pevernagie

28. “Don’t you think it’s actually harder for you . . . to adapt, I mean? Because you’ve done all that stuff?’

‘Are you asking me if I wish I’d never done it?’

‘I’m just wondering if it would have been easier for you. If you’d led a smaller life. To live like this, I mean.’

‘I will never, ever regret the things I’ve done. Because most days, if you’re stuck in one of these, all you have are the places n your memory that you can go to.’ He smiled. It was tight, as if it cost him. ‘So if you’re asking me would I rather be reminiscing about the view of the caste from the minimart, or that lovely row of shops down off the roundabout, then, no. My life was just fine, thanks.” ― Jojo Moyes, Me Before You

29. “I don’t regret for a single moment having lived for pleasure.

I did it to the full, as one should do everything that one does. There was no pleasure I did not experience.” ― Oscar Wilde, De Profundis

30. “Don’t let yesterday take up too much of today.” ― John Wooden, Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court

A black and white photograph capturing a bridge representing i regret everything quote

See also: 130 Wise Acceptance Quotes To Help You Grow And Prosper

20 Regret Quotes For Self-Reflection

1. “Regrets came up and asked me if I’d like to own them. Declined them for the most part but took a few just so I wouldn’t leave this relationship empty handed.” ― Steve Toltz, A Fraction of the Whole

In an autumn landscape, a woman stands near a lake covered in fallen leaves representing regretting message

2. “Eventually something you love is going to be taken away. And then you will fall to the floor crying. And then, however much later, it is finally happening to you: you’re falling to the floor crying thinking, “I am falling to the floor crying,” but there’s an element of the ridiculous to it — you knew it would happen and, even worse, while you’re on the floor crying you look at the place where the wall meets the floor and you realize you didn’t paint it very well.” ― Richard Siken

3. “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, Lock and Key

4. “Over the last couple of years, the photos of me when I was a kid… well, they’ve started to give me a little pang or something – not unhappiness, exactly, but some kind of quiet, deep regret… I keep wanting to apologize to the little guy: “I’m sorry, I’ve let you down. I was the person who was supposed to look after you, but I blew it: I made wrong decisions at bad times, and I turned you into me.” ― Nick Hornby, High Fidelity

5. “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, Just One Day

A woman in the midst of a picturesque autumn scene representing regretting quote

6. “When you start thinking about what your life was like 10 years ago–and not in general terms, but in highly specific detail–it’s disturbing to realize how certain elements of your being are completely dead. They die long before you do. It’s astonishing to consider all the things from your past that used to happen all the time but (a) never happen anymore, and (b) never even cross your mind. It’s almost like those things didn’t happen. Or maybe it seems like they just happened to someone else. To someone you don’t really know. To someone you just hung out with for one night, and now you can’t even remember her name.” ― Chuck Klosterman, Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story

7. “Oh my God, what if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written, or you didn’t go swimming in those warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen.” ― Anne Lamott

8. “Do you still believe that if you truly want something enough it can happen?” I ask. I think of all the times I wanted to stop the world from spinning, all the times I wanted to go back and start over again. All the things I’ve wanted to undo or take back. Did I not want them enough?” ― Carrie Ryan, The Dead-Tossed Waves

9. “You can tell it any way you want but that’s the way it is. I should of done it and I didn’t. And some part of me has never quit wishin I could go back. And I cant. I didn’t know you could steal your own life. And I didn’t know that it would bring you no more benefit than about anything else you might steal. I think I done the best with it I knew how but it still wasn’t mine. It never has been. ” ― Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men

10. “It is the bungled crime that brings remorse.” ― P.G. Wodehouse, Love Among the Chickens

a woman standing by a lake blanketed with fallen leaves representing regret quotation

11. “It is not the lives we regret not living that are the real problem. It is the regret itself. It’s the regret that makes us shrivel and wither and feel like our own and other people’s worst enemy. We can’t tell if any of those other versions would have been better or worse. Those lives are happening, it is true, but you are happening as well, and that is the happening we have to focus on.” ― Matt Haig, The Midnight Library

12. “My phone is on my bed, whispering in my ear like a bottle of scotch to a recovering alcoholic, while the rain continues cackling at me through my window.” ― Katja Millay

13. “You have been given a second chance to start your life over. You can’t throw this opportunity away. If you do you will be a colossal fool. If you get the chance to do something and don’t do it then you’ll simply live with regret. That’s a worse situation than trying something daring and maybe not succeeding. At least you tried. Isn’t that what you want to show your kids?” ― Lorena Bathey, Beatrice Munson

14. “A thorough inspection of someone you believed to be loveable will send you back into your shell if all you saw in their life was all bullshit.” ― Michael Bassey Johnson

15. “I’m too old to recover, too narrow to forgive myself.” ― Lillian Hellman, The Children’s Hour

A woman immersed in the beauty of autumn representing living with regret quote

16. “You loved me as hard as you knew how. I’d give anything to go back and love you better…” ― Joe Hill, NOS4A2

17. “Truly there are different kinds of pain.  But the most agonizing is the pain of regret, for which there is no lasting relief and no remedy.” ― Richelle E. Goodrich, Smile Anyway: Quotes, Verse, and Grumblings for Every Day of the Year

18. “We suddenly feel fearful and apprehensive, naked in our perishable flesh, and for just a moment we wish we could go back to being stone—crumbling in death rather than rotting, trapped inside an immobile prison of stone rather than reduced to immaterial souls like those that now rattled within our skulls. The moment passes. There is no point in regretting irreversible decisions—one has to live with them, and we try.” ― Ekaterina Sedia, The Alchemy of Stone

19. “My mind is huge with little stories that I never told you.” ― Lionel Shriver, We Need to Talk About Kevin

20. “Hurting people you love is the heaviest kind of regret.” ― Charlotte Eriksson

A woman immersed in an autumn setting representing quote about regret love

20 Regret Quotes For The Chances You Missed

1. “Have you ever hoped for something? And held out for it against all the odds? Until everything you did was ridiculous? ” ― Ali Shaw, The Girl With Glass Feet

A well-dressed man standing on a deck representing quote about regrets in life

2. “I wanted to tell her everything, maybe if I’d been able to, we could have lived differently, maybe I’d be there with you now instead of here. Maybe… if I’d said, ‘I’m so afraid of losing something I love that I refuse to love anything,’ maybe that would have made the impossible possible. Maybe, but I couldn’t do it, I had buried too much too deeply inside me. And here I am, instead of there.” ― Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

3. “Maybe it was the alcohol, maybe it was the truth, maybe I didn’t want things to turn abstract, but I felt I should say it, because this was the moment to say it, because it suddenly dawned on me that this was why I had come, to tell him ‘You are the only person I’d like to say goodbye to when I die, because only then will this thing I call my life make any sense. And if I should hear that you died, my life as I know it, the me who is speaking with you now, will cease to exist.” ― André Aciman, Call Me by Your Name

4. “Do you know what it is like,

to lie in bed awake;

with thoughts to haunt

you every night,

of all your past mistakes.

Knowing sleep will set it right –

if you were not to wake.” ― Lang Leav, Love & Misadventure

5. “There is no more disastrous mania, no more dangerous whim, than the speculation over roads not taken.” ― Juan Gabriel Vásquez, The Sound of Things Falling

A man in a suit standing pensively on a deck representing you will regret quote

6. “It’s not that we have to quit this life one day, it’s how many things we have to quit all at once: holding hands, hotel rooms, music, the physics of falling leaves, vanilla and jasmine, poppies, smiling, anthills, the color of the sky, coffee and cashmere, literature, sparks and subway trains… If only one could leave this life slowly!” ― Roman Payne, Hope and Despair

7. “She had been wrong to think it wouldn’t matter that much to him, yes, he took her for granted, of course he did , but he took her for granted – not like an old coat in the corner of a dark cupboard, as she’d put it to herself , but like the very air that he breathed .” ― Ahdaf Soueif, In the Eye of the Sun

8. “When we cannot share our values any longer and our incipient intentions have become blurry, common understanding may turn into irredeemable misunderstanding. If the spirit of common perspectives and commitments has irreversibly been broken, we might patently drift down into suspicion, remorse or regret. As such, shared initiatives ought to be reasoned and well thought-out to avoid ‘understanding’ becoming ‘misunderstanding’ and ‘hope’ breaking down into ‘heartbreak’.” ― Erik Pevernagie

9. “In any weather, at any hour of the day or night, I have been anxious to improve the nick of time, and notch it on my stick too; to stand on the meeting of two eternities, the past and future, which is precisely the present moment; to toe that line.” ― Henry David Thoreau, Walden

10. “We should have taken our chances back then, when we were young and beautiful and didn’t even know it.” ― Lois McMaster Bujold, Diplomatic Immunity

A suited man stands on a deck overlooking the lake representing living with regret quote

11. “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

12. “And then it hits me: I’ve lost you. You now rank among the things I’ll always regret: opportunities lost, children never had, things I might have accomplished or done far better, lovers who have come and gone.” ― André Aciman, Enigma Variations

13. “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, Where Angels Fear to Tread

14. “I wouldn’t waste a day, not an hour, not a moment. Take what you want and damn caution. Live, enjoy. Feed ravenously. Or the biggest regret you’ll have at the end of your life is wasted time.” ― Nora Roberts, Genuine Lies

15. “I thought of the things that had happened to me over the years, and of how little I had made happen.” ― Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending

A somber man in a suit stands on a deck representing regret and mistake quote

16. “That night as I lay in bed, I thought of several things I could have said and mourned the fact that my wit usually bloomed late, peaking when it no longer mattered, during the solitary hours close to midnight.” ― Siri Hustvedt, The Blindfold

17. “Take the stupidest thing you’ve ever done. At least it’s done. It’s over. It’s gone. We can all learn from our mistakes and heal and move on. But it’s harder to learn or heal or move on from something that hasn’t happened; something we don’t know and is therefore indefinable; something which could very easily have been the best thing in our lives, if only we’d taken the plunge, if only we’d held our breath and stood up and done it, if only we’d said yes.” ― Danny Wallace, Yes Man

18. “It’s always the idle habits you acquire which you will regret. Father said that. That Christ was not crucified: he was worn away by a minute clicking of little wheels. That had no sister.” ― William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury

19. “And it was pointless…to think how those years could have been put to better use, for he could hardly have put them to worse. There was no recovering them now. You could grieve endlessly for the loss of time and for the damage done therein. For the dead, and for your own lost self. But what the wisdom of the ages says is that we do well not to grieve on and on. And those old ones knew a thing or two and had some truth to tell…for you can grieve your heart out and in the end you are still where you were. All your grief hasn’t changed a thing. What you have lost will not be returned to you. It will always be lost. You’re left with only your scars to mark the void. All you can choose to do is to go on or not. But if you go on, it’s knowing you carry your scars with you.” ― Charles Frazier, Cold Mountain

20. “Regret; The saddest word in the English language.” ― Tonya Hurley, Ghostgirl

A man wearing a suit standing alone on a deck, representing quotes about regrets in life

See also: 130 Motivational You Are Enough Quotes To Know Your Worth

20 Short Regret Quotes

1. “There are so many things that I want so badly to tell you but I just can’t.” ― Nina LaCour, Hold Still

A man in a black hoodie standing in a field surrounded by nature representing quote about regret and love

2. “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, An Ember in the Ashes

3. “You might be looking for reasons but there are no reasons.” ― Nina LaCour, Hold Still

4. “They were involved in that awkward procedure of getting to unknow each other.” ― John Irving, The World According to Garp

5. “Ah, it’s my longing for whom I might have been that distracts and torments me!” ― Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet

A contemplative man wearing a black hoodie standing in a vast field representing regretting quote

6. “No trouble ever got fixed late at night,” he said. “Midnight is for regrets.” ― Holly Black, Red Glove

7. “My guilt is an ocean for me to drown in.” ― Nicola Yoon, Everything, Everything

8. “You can’t regret the life you didn’t lead.” ― Junot Díaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

9. “I wouldn’t have missed a single minute of it, Not for the whole world.” ― Stephen King

10. “Four things do not come back: the spoken word, the sped arrow, the past life, and the neglected opportunity.” ― Ted Chiang, The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate

A figure in a black hoodie standing alone in a peaceful field representing you'll regret it quote

11. “Happy moments can turn into pain, given time.” ― Matt Haig, The Midnight Library

12. “You tread lightly through life, but you leave deep footprints that are hard for other people to fill.” ― Josie Silver, One Day in December

13. “How quickly he fell; how soon it was over.” ― Donna Tartt, The Secret History

14. “Look in my face; my name is Might-have-been;

I am also call’d No-more, Too-late, Farewell” ― Dante Gabriel Rossetti, The House of Life

15. “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, Slammed

A man in a black hoodie standing amidst the serenity of a field representing I don't regret anything quote

16. “Everybody was sorry. Sorry was easy. Sorry was for suckers.” ― Gretchen McNeil, Possess

17. “I just wish I’d asked you sooner. We could’ve had ages . . . months . . . years maybe. . . .” ― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

18. “My jealousy is a living thing. Shifting, changing, growing. Like my rage and my mother’s regret.” ― Katja Millay, The Sea of Tranquility

19. “Regret is the insight that comes too late. Too little and too late. Too little empathy and too late awareness. ” ― Erik Pevernagie

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

A solitary man dressed in a black hoodie representing have no regrets quote

See also: 200 Greatest Life Lessons Quotes To Live Your Best Life

20 Regret Quotes To Make You Feel Better

1. “Don’t waste your time in anger, regrets, worries, and grudges. Life is too short to be unhappy.” ― Roy T. Bennett

A blonde woman with white nails, dressed in a blue flower print dress, representing regret saying

2. “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, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

3. “Marry, and you will regret it; don’t marry, you will also regret it; marry or don’t marry, you will regret it either way. Laugh at the world’s foolishness, you will regret it; weep over it, you will regret that too; laugh at the world’s foolishness or weep over it, you will regret both. Believe a woman, you will regret it; believe her not, you will also regret it… Hang yourself, you will regret it; do not hang yourself, and you will regret that too; hang yourself or don’t hang yourself, you’ll regret it either way; whether you hang yourself or do not hang yourself, you will regret both. This, gentlemen, is the essence of all philosophy.” ― Søren Kierkegaard

4. “We don’t have to be defined by the things we did or didn’t do in our past. Some people allow themselves to be controlled by regret. Maybe it’s a regret, maybe it’s not. It’s merely something that happened. Get over it.” ― Pittacus Lore, I Am Number Four

5. “This is what I want so don’t be sad.” ― Nina LaCour, Hold Still

A woman with flowing blonde hair representing quote on regrets

6. “And I want to tell you about everything but I can’t because I couldn’t stand for you to have that look on your face all the time. I just need you to look at me and think that I’m normal. I just really need that from you.” ― Nina LaCour, Hold Still

7. “I’ve never regretted it. Questioned it? Sure. But never regretted.”

“Is there a difference?” I ask.

“Absolutely. 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. I questioned a lot about my relationship with your father. People make spontaneous decisions based off of their hearts all the time. There’s so much more to relationships than just love.” ― Colleen Hoover, Slammed

8. “We were never lovers, and we never will be, now. I do not regret that, however. I regret the conversations we never had, the time we did not spend together. I regret that I never told him that he made me happy, when I was in his company. The world was the better for his being in it. These things alone do I now regret: things left unsaid. And he is gone, and I am old.” ― Neil Gaiman, The Sandman Vol. 10: The Wake

9. “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, Beyond the Grave

10. “He tried to name which of the deadly seven might apply, and when he failed he decided to append an eighth, regret.” ― Charles Frazier, Cold Mountain

A blonde woman in a blue floral dress representing regrets saying

11. “I wish I knew why she never told me any of this. Maybe she thought I wouldn’t be able to handle it, that I was too sheltered or too innocent or something. If she had told me why she cut herself all the time, or that it was the pills that made her act so spaced out, or that she was even on pills, or even saw doctors, or any of it, I would have done my best to help her. I’m not saying I’m a superhero. I’m not saying I would have just swooped down and saved her. I’m just saying the only reason everything was a waste was that she made it a waste. That whole time, back when I was just a normal kid in high school, living out my normal life, I really thought everything mattered.” ― Nina LaCour, Hold Still

12. “So yes, I say things I regret constantly, and I just can’t help it.” ― Kathy Griffin

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

14. “People do this a lot. They don’t seem to realise that the future is just like now, but in a little while, so they say they’re going to do things in anticipation of some kind of seismic shift in their worldview that never actually materialises. But everything’s not going to be made of leather, the world won’t stink of sherbet. Tomorrow is not some mythical kingdom where you’ll grow butterfly wings and be able to talk to animals – you’ll basically feel pretty much the same way you do at the moment.” ― Russell Brand, My Booky Wook

15. “Do not feel sad for your tears as rocks never regret the waterfalls” ― Munia Khan

A woman with golden locks and white manicured nails representing a quotation about regret

16. “I just kept on crying. For my dad. For my mom, For my siblings. For myself. For not feeling good enough. For not feeling enough. For doing what I wanted to do despite all the noes and the eye rolls and all the things I’d had to give up along the way. All the things I’d lost that I might someday regret more than I already did.” ― Mariana Zapata, From Lukov with Love

17. “Practice the pause. Pause before judging. Pause before assuming. Pause before accusing. Pause whenever you’re about to react harshly and you’ll avoid doing and saying things you’ll later regret.” ― Lori Deschene

18. “The first law of nature is self-preservation. Cut off that which may harm you. But if it is worth preserving, and is meaningful, nourish it and have no regrets. Ultimately, this is true living and love of self…from within.” ― T.F. Hodge, From Within I Rise: Spiritual Triumph over Death and Conscious Encounters with “The Divine Presence”

19. “It took hours to turn the clock back 30 seconds.” ― Jonathan Franzen, Strong Motion

20. “Sometimes I wish life was written pencil so we could erase it and write it all over again.” ― Thisuri Wanniarachchi, COLOMBO STREETS

A blonde woman tightly embracing herself representing biggest regret quote

20 Regret Quotes You Should Think About

1. “My dad used to say that living with regrets was like driving a car that only moved in reverse.” ― Jodi Picoult, House Rules

A majestic mountain shrouded in clouds and fog representing quote about regretting things

2. “Well, it’s true that I have been hurt in my life. Quite a bit. But it’s also true that I have loved, and been loved. and that carries a weight of its own. A greater weight, in my opinion. It’s like that pie chart we talked about earlier. in the end, I’ll look back on my life and see that the greatest piece of it was love. The problems, the divorces, the sadness… those will be there too, but just smaller slivers, tiny pieces.” ― Sarah Dessen, This Lullaby

3. “The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,

       Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit

       Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,

       Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.” ― Omar Khayyám

4. “They send a person who can never stay,” she whispered. “Who can never accept my offer of companionship for more than a little while. They send me a hero I can’t help … just the sort of person I can’t help falling in love with.”

As I sailed into the lake I realized the Fates really were cruel. They sent Calypso someone she couldn’t help but love. But it worked both ways. For the rest of my life I would be thinking about her. She would always be my biggest what if.” ― Rick Riordan, The Battle of the Labyrinth

5. “Man, don’t ever be sorry you don’t want to kill someone.” ― Michael Grant, Gone

A mist-covered mountain hidden in the depths of a pine forest representing regret message.

6. “Over the years I’d lodged him in the permanent past, my pluperfect lover, put him on ice, stuffed him with memories and mothballs like a hunted ornament confabulating with the ghost of all my evenings. I’d dust him off from time to time and then put him back on the mantelpiece. He no longer belonged to earth or to life. All I was likely to discover at this point wasn’t just how distant were the paths we’d taken, it was the measure of loss that was going to strike me–a loss I didn’t mind thinking about in abstract terms but which would hurt when stared at in the face, the way nostalgia hurts long after we’ve stopped thinking of things we lost and may never have cared for.” ― André Aciman, Call Me by Your Name

7. “There is a time in the life of every boy when he for the first time takes the backward view of life. Perhaps that is the moment when he crosses the line into manhood. The boy is walking through the street of his town. He is thinking of the future and of the figure he will cut in the world. Ambitions and regrets awake within him. Suddenly something happens; he stops under a tree and waits as for a voice calling his name. Ghosts of old things creep into his consciousness; the voices outside of himself whisper a message concerning the limitations of life. From being quite sure of himself and his future he becomes not at all sure. If he be an imaginative boy a door is torn open and for the first time he looks out upon the world, seeing, as though they marched in procession before him, the countless figures of men who before his time have come out of nothingness into the world, lived their lives and again disappeared into nothingness. The sadness of sophistication has come to the boy. With a little gasp he sees himself as merely a leaf blown by the wind through the streets of his village. He knows that in spite of all the stout talk of his fellows he must live and die in uncertainty, a thing blown by the winds, a thing destined like corn to wilt in the sun.” ― Sherwood Anderson, Winesburg, Ohio: A Group of Tales of Ohio Small Town Life

8. “She was at that crucial age when a women begins to regret having stayed faithful to a husband she never really loved, when the glowing sunset colors of her beauty offer her one last, urgent choice between maternal and feminine love. At such a moment a life that seemed to have chosen its course long ago is questioned once again, for the last time the magic compass needle of the will hovers between final resignation and the hope of erotic experience.” ― Stefan Zweig, The Burning Secret and other stories

9. “If the portraits of our absent friends are pleasant to us, which renew our memory of them and relieve our regret for their absence by a false and empty consolation, how much more pleasant are letters which bring us the written characters of the absent friend.” ― Héloïse d’Argenteuil, The Letters of Abélard and Héloïse

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

A mountain blanketed in mist and fog representing no regret quote

11. “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, The Universe Versus Alex Woods

12. “In terms of days and moments lived, you’ll never again be as young as you are right now, so spend this day, the youth of your future, in a way that deflects regret. Invest in yourself. Have some fun. Do something important. Love somebody extra. In one sense, you’re just a kid, but a kid with enough years on her to know that every day is priceless. ” ― Victoria Moran, Younger by the Day: 365 Ways to Rejuvenate Your Body and Revitalize Your Spirit

13. “I am fifty years old and I have never known what it is to love. I can write those words, know them to be true, but feel only the regret that a tone-deaf man must feel because he can’t appreicate music, a regret less keen because it is for something never known, not for something lost.” ― P.D. James, The Children of Men

14. “The trouble with ‘if only’ is that it doesn’t change anything. It keeps the person facing the wrong way – backward instead of forward. It wastes time. In the end, if you let it become a habit, it can become a real roadblock – an excuse for not trying anymore.” ― Arthur Gordon, A Touch of Wonder

15. “In that moment I understood that the cruelest words in the universe are if only.” ― Lisa See, Peony in Love

A mystical mountain engulfed by clouds and fog representing quote about regretting

16. “I can just close my eyes and let myself fall into oblivion. Maybe I’ll hit the exact same rocks and my blood will mingle with his and maybe there’s some kind of life after death and he’s waiting for me there with his hand outstretched just like mine.


I don’t want to die.

I try to twist my body backwards and pain shoots up my neck.

It’s too late.

I chose life too late.” ― Cat Clarke, Undone

17. “It’s important in life to conclude things properly. Only then can you let go. Otherwise you are left with words you should have said but never did, and your heart is heavy with remorse. That bungled goodbye hurts me to this day.” ― Yann Martel, Life of Pi

18. “That was how she had felt most of her life.

Caught in the middle. Struggling, flailing, just trying to survive while not knowing which way to go. Which path to commit to without regret.” ― Matt Haig, The Midnight Library

19. “Don’t let the rain drive you to the wrong shelter; the shade can turn out to be your protector and also your destroyer, and sometimes the rain is the perfect protector from the rain.” ― Michael Bassey Johnson

20. “For of all sad words of tongue or pen,

The saddest are these: “It might have been!” ― John Greenleaf Whittier, Maud Muller

A mountain peak disappearing into the mist and fog representing having regret quote

Final Word

In the final moments of our journey through these regret quotes, let us carry with us the invaluable wisdom they impart. 

May we find solace in the knowledge that regrets need not define us, but rather serve as catalysts for growth. Let us embrace the power of forgiveness, self-compassion, and the courage to forge new paths. 

With hearts open to learning and healing, may we find peace amidst the echoes of regret, and emerge stronger, wiser, and ready to embrace the abundant possibilities of tomorrow.
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