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Vishal Ostwal

I Write About Life

22 Painful Regrets People Have in Life

Things People Regret

“I’d rather admit that I have had regrets than roam around like a jerk and claim that I lived, or that I’m living a perfect life.”

I see happy people all around, but when I talk to them, they can’t help mentioning the past. We’re all similar.

It appears as though life has a rear mirror and we’re steadily gazing at it, longing to dive into past and hoping to change whatever we could. We wish we had lived a little differently, or that we were wiser.

Yet, living without regrets is a fantasy, because we make decisions – and some decisions always go wrong.

But you can avoid some regrets

While you’re too busy, stuck in the chaos, you might not even notice how life changes – but you realize what you lost after years.

Not that you can transform your life after knowing common regrets, but you can do what’s right for you once you decide what really matters.

Here’s a list of things most people regret in life

1. Not standing against injustice and wrong being done to you or others

You feel responsible for the bad things you let happen – and the remorse is even greater when you do nothing.

Remain a silent spectator when you’re supposed to speak up and you’d have nightmares. After all, you can’t justify your inaction to yourself.

2. Not confronting bullies when you should’ve

Maybe you were innocent, weak, and didn’t have the courage to hit back.

But you can’t stop thinking you could’ve punched those bullies and taught them a lesson. You could’ve stood for yourself and stopped feeling like a loser.

Even when you learn, grow mature and move on, those feelings stick to you, reminding you of your weaknesses.

3. Not being there for people when they need you the most

Close your eyes and pretend like people asking for your help don’t exist.

You’d feel a mix of guilt and shame that can keep you sleepless at night – and you wouldn’t be able to forgive yourself.

When you’re blessed with better choices and resources, you’re supposed to give back. If you don’t, you limit your own growth.

4. Not expressing love and other exact feelings you have

Say what you mean, and be clear about it.

No need to go around in circles. Express love, anger, and other feelings you hide. Because if you don’t let them out, you carry them with you for the rest of your life.

Reveal what’s within you.

5. Not doing things you want to due to fear and doubts

Quitting is hard, but it’s even harder to accept being a loser.

When you avoid doing activities you fear and then pretend like you don’t care, you lose your self-belief.

After some years you might even look back and think “why didn’t I?” … and you won’t have an answer.

6. Not completing the education you wanted to have

Regardless of whether the education you didn’t complete could’ve served a purpose or not, you cannot stop thinking about it.

You wanted to learn something you were passionate about, but you didn’t do it. This thought reminds you that you lost a precious opportunity.

6. Not choosing a career you wished for, and doing something else

You join your family business, get influenced by society, or maybe you do what your parents chose for you. You feel helpless.

You may feel like you worked really hard – but all for nothing. Because the result doesn’t matter to you. It’s not what you wanted.

7. Bad financial business within the family

Some families do business together or get into some kind of monetary ties – but it mostly turns out to be messy.

Needless quarrels, misunderstandings, and doubts arise out of nowhere. Once bad events occur, relationships are never the same again.

Families part even though there’s no significant reason to do so. Unfortunately, the steps you take to earn more money may disturb other aspects of your family.

8. Not quitting a job you hate and helplessly staying longer

Sticking to a bad job and wasting years thinking you won’t find another brings a lot of pains later.

No matter how insecure you are, the sooner you quit the better you’d feel. Peace, self-respect, and stillness within life are greater assets than the misery you bear for a handful of money.

9. Letting others make decisions for you

“This happened to me because ‘some person’ did this.”

That sounds foolish.

Not only you look helpless, but also appear to be making excuses to avoid your faults. Unfortunately, no one’s going to understand you.

Either you decide what you want to do, or others will. Both ways, it’s you who has to deal with the circumstances.

10. Taking relationships for granted and mistreating others

You don’t realize the worth of your people unless they’re no longer with you, they abandon you, or until they’re dead.

It’s a blessing to have some people who selflessly treat you with love and affection. Be kind to those you already have.

11. Putting others’ opinions and feeling before your own

Although you might not want to hurt others, you suffer when you lack a bit of selfishness.

Decide what’s right for you and do it, instead of letting others drag you wherever they want to.

You won’t feel like you own yourself unless your life is filled with tiny details you care about – such as the chores you want to perform, deciding for yourself, and making choices you care about.

12. Not fulfilling little goals and dreams you wanted to

You might drown so badly chasing your big dreams that you completely forget to appreciate life as it is.

A perfect life’s a faraway destination – an imaginary place no one can reach. But you can be happy the moment you start appreciating life.

Instead of sacrificing a lot and expecting a reward, you can balance your life with your ambitions. When you fail to do that, none of your successes make sense, and you lament over your wasted years.

13. Abandoning a life you wanted due to fear of the world

When you fake yourself due to fear and sideline your own wants for others’ opinions, you definitely regret it.

Choose an unconventional lifestyle and let there be some surprises for the world – at least, you’ll be happier. Every time you beat yourself up, you step away from joy.

14. Not meeting old friends and folks, until you don’t have a chance anymore

Sometimes, until they die.

If your mind is occupied with thoughts about certain people in your life, and you wish to meet them, then do it as soon as you can.

Years pass like weeks, you keep thinking, and suddenly life snatches the opportunity of sharing stories and looking in the eyes of people who were a part of your life.

15. Remaining a hypocrite and losing your own identity

Not because you chose to become one, but due to the fear of being socially acceptable.

Be whatever you are, accept your flaws, and be okay when some people label you as odd, immature or constantly try to change you. It’s better than wearing an uncomfortable mask.

Don’t wear expensive stuff to impress everyone. Stop hanging out with people you don’t care about. Say what you mean and be honest.

You’d feel lighter.

16. Neglecting health beyond repair

Smoking or drinking even after your doctor has mentioned the hazard.

Doing nothing to prevent your bulging belly.

We always know what’s coming next for us, even when we’re careless about our health. We don’t pay attention unless we’re lying on the hospital bed and can see death getting closer.

Regret only strikes us when we finally see time slipping away, spend all our earning on medical bills, and being alive appears to be a luxury.

17. Letting others mistreat you when you’re supposed to protest

It doesn’t even matter who’s mistreating you – whether it’s your spouse, a lifelong friend, or your boss.

The moment you permit others to hurt and abuse you, you lower yourself in your own eyes. You feel weak and exploited – and can’t wash-off that acute feeling.

Either you do something the moment you’re being mistreated and resolve the issue, or you let the regret harden until it’s permanent.

18. Being cold-hearted

Being egoistic, holding hard grudges, and fostering hatred against others ruins your ability to love.

You feel blank, pompous and don’t recognize what made you what you are. It’s hard to go back to being kind.

So you stand there, waiting to be cared for, and hoping for happiness to be showered upon you. But that doesn’t work, as you’re too busy forgive and move on.

19. Not living while you can and waiting for a perfect life instead

You wait to earn more money, your next vacation, finishing the incomplete project – until you decide that you can be finally happy. Your wants make your life hard, making you forget that you can be happy

Unfortunately, that hypothetical ‘day’ never arrives and you age as you crave for life to fix itself.

When you look back, you realize that you already spent years having unrealistic expectations.

Life happens not in years but in moments. You can either cherish each day filled with little reasons to be happy, or let the time slip and regret its loss.

20. Not being ‘the better person’ you could’ve been

It hurts to know that you could’ve been more compassionate by putting in a little more effort.

Throughout your relationships or any aspect of life, you could contribute to others’ happiness and play your role better – by being a better father, son, or a better human.

But still, you may deliberately keep making the same mistakes over and over, until the day comes when it becomes hard to face your own faults.

21. Letting wrong people stay, allowing them to control you

You let wrong people remain a part of your life as you don’t intend to hurt them or let them down – but unknowingly you allow them to slowly poison your life.

Stay for too long with wrong friends, bad partners, or critical colleagues and you can see them destruct your life.

A few negative people can snatch your self-esteem, lower your morale, and disturb your emotional health so badly it’s hard to rise again.

22. Letting loneliness take over

It doesn’t seem like a big deal when you’re busy browsing stuff on the internet and laughing at those funny videos – but once you take your eyes off the shiny screen, you realize how blank your life is.

It’s much like a personal regret for me, too. I’ve already missed the chances to admire several sunsets and a lot more in life, and I’m trying to fix that.

My heart aches to say all this, but life could’ve been better, and I still have chances to fix what I know has gone wrong.

The cure for regrets

There’s none.

We treat regrets and sorrows as bad things in life, even though they aren’t. We all make our mistakes, move on and accept life.

The fact is, no matter hard you try, some regrets remain – but you don’t need to end them all to live a good life.

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