Speak when you are angry—and you’ll make the best speech you’ll ever regret.
—Laurence J. Peter (1919–90) Canadian-born American Educator, Author
Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.
—Charles Dickens (1812–70) English Novelist
Go to the effort. Invest the time. Write the letter. Make the apology. Take the trip. Purchase the gift. Do it. The seized opportunity renders joy. The neglected brings regret.
—Max Lucado (b.1955) American Christian Author, Minister
The man who insists upon seeing with perfect clearness before he decides, never decides. Accept life, and you must accept regret.
—Henri Frederic Amiel (1821–81) Swiss Moral Philosopher, Poet, Critic
We should regret our mistakes and learn from them, but never carry them forward into the future with us.
—Lucy Maud Montgomery (1874–1942) Canadian Novelist
Regret, like a tail, comes at the end.
I have many regrets, and I’m sure everyone does. The stupid things you do, you regret … if you have any sense; and, if you don’t regret them, maybe you’re stupid.
—Katharine Hepburn (1907–2003) American Actor, TV Personality
Make the most of your regrets; never smother your sorrow, but tend and cherish it till it comes to have a separate and integral interest. To regret deeply is to live afresh.
—Henry David Thoreau (1817–62) American Philosopher
Perform good deeds; you will not regret them.
The first half of life is spent in longing for the second, the second half in regretting the first.
It’s not what you are; it’s what you don’t become that hurts.
—Oscar Levant (1906–72) American Musician, Composer, Author, Comedian, Actor
The best of prophets of the future is the past.
—Lord Byron (George Gordon Byron) (1788–1824) English Romantic Poet
Never look for the birds of this year in the nests of the last.
—Miguel de Cervantes (1547–1616) Spanish Novelist
Today I bent the truth to be kind, and I have no regret, for I am far surer of what is kind than I am of what is true.
“The horror of that moment,” the King went on, “I shall never, never forget!” “You will, though,” the Queen said, “if you don’t make a memorandum of it.
—Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) (1832–98) British Anglican Author, Mathematician, Clergyman, Photographer, Logician
It is better to look ahead and prepare than to look back and regret.
—Jackie Joyner-Kersee (b.1962) American Athlete
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 Smith (1771–1845) English Clergyman, Essayist, Wit
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 (1888–1923) New Zealand-born British Author
Get correct views of life, and learn to see the world in its true light. It will enable you to live pleasantly, to do good, and, when summoned away, to leave without regret.
—Robert E. Lee (1807–70) Confederate General during American Civil War
There is no greater sorrow than to recall a happy time in the midst of wretchedness.
—Dante Alighieri (1265–1321) Italian Poet, Philosopher
I must place on record my regret that the human race ever learned to fly.
—Winston Churchill (1874–1965) British Head of State, Political leader, Historian, Journalist, Author
The only conquests that are permanent and leave no regrets are our conquests over ourselves.
—Napoleon I (1769–1821) Emperor of France
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 (1813–55) Danish Philosopher, Theologian
We often regret we did not do otherwise, when that very otherwise would, in all probability, have done for us.
—Charles Caleb Colton (c.1780–1832) English Clergyman, Aphorist
Nobody who ever gave his best regretted it.
The chemist who can extract from his heart’s elements, compassion, respect, longing, patience, regret, surprise, and forgiveness and compound them into one can create that atom which is called love.
—Kahlil Gibran (1883–1931) Lebanese-born American Philosopher, Poet, Painter, Theologian, Sculptor
A few moments of misplaced values can mean a lifetime of regret.
Remorse, the fatal egg that pleasure laid.
—William Cowper (1731–1800) English Anglican Poet, Hymn writer
Some people regret that they have poor memories. Alas! It is much more difficult to forget.
—Dorothee Luzy Dotinville (1747–1830) French Dancer, Actress
If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.
—George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950) Irish Playwright
But the bravest man amongst us is afraid of himself. The mutilation of the savage has its tragic survival in the self-denial that mars our lives. We are punished for our refusals. Every impulse that we strive to strangle broods in the mind and poisons us. The body sins once, and has done with its sin, for action is a mode of purification. Nothing remains then but the recollection of a pleasure, or the luxury of a regret. The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself, with desire for what its monstrous laws have made monstrous and unlawful. It has been said that the great events of the world take place in the brain. It is in the brain, and the brain only, that the great sins of the world take place also.
—Oscar Wilde (1854–1900) Irish Poet, Playwright
Regret, which is guilt without the neurosis, enables us … to move forward instead of back.
—Jane Addams (1860–1935) American Social Reformer, Feminist
We can’t afford to waste tears on might-have-beens. We need to turn the tears into sweat that can take us to what can be.
—Denis Waitley (b.1933) American Motivational Speaker, Author
All of the Earth’s treasures can’t bring back a lost moment.
Let the dead Past bury its dead.
—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–82) American Poet, Educator, Academic
The person whose doors I enter with most pleasure, and quit with most regret, never did me the smallest favor.
—William Hazlitt (1778–1830) English Essayist
The only thing I regret about my past is the length of it. If I had to live my life again, I’d make the same mistakes, only sooner.
—Tallulah Bankhead (1902–68) American Actress
I often regret that I have spoken; never that I have been silent.
—Publilius Syrus (fl.85–43 BCE) Syrian-born Roman Latin Writer
Were it not better to forget than to remember and regret?
—Letitia Elizabeth Landon (1802–38) English Poet, Novelist
People have to face regrets. Becoming mature means learning to accept what you cannot change, facing unresolved sorrows and learning to love life as it really happens, not as you would have it happen. When someone attaches unkindness to criticism, she’s angry. Angry people need to criticize as an outlet for their anger. That’s why you must reject unkind criticism. Unkind criticism is never part of a meaningful critique of you. Its purpose is not to teach or to help, its purpose is to punish. Life isn’t supposed to be an all or nothing battle between misery and bliss. Life isn’t supposed to be a battle at all. And when it comes to happiness, well, sometimes life is just okay, sometimes it’s comfortable, sometimes wonderful, sometimes boring, sometimes unpleasant. When your day’s not perfect, it’s not a failure or a terrible loss. It’s just another day.
—Barbara Sher (1935–2020) American Career Coach
Regret is an odd emotion because it comes only upon reflection. Regret lacks immediacy, and so its power seldom influences events when it could do some good.
—Edward William O’Rourke (1917–99) American Roman Catholic Bishop
Failure is never as scary as regret.
We rarely repent of having eaten too little.
—Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826) American Head of State, Lawyer
I believe life is constantly testing us for our level of commitment, and life’s greatest rewards are reserved for those who demonstrate a never-ending commitment to act until they achieve. This level of resolve can move mountains, but it must be constant and consistent. As simplistic as this may sound, it is still the common denominator separating those who live their dreams from those who live in regret.
—Tony Robbins (b.1960) American Self-Help Author, Entrepreneur
I demolish my bridges behind me … then there is no choice but forward.
—Fridtjof Nansen (1861–1930) Norwegian Explorer, Biologist, Oceanographer
They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
—Benjamin Franklin (1706–90) American Political Leader, Inventor, Diplomat
For the majority of us, the past is a regret, the future an experiment.
—Mark Twain (1835–1910) American Humorist
I have many regrets, and I’m sure everyone does. The stupid things you do, you regret if you have any sense, and if you don’t regret them, maybe you’re stupid.
—Katharine Hepburn (1907–2003) American Actor, TV Personality
The most painful thing to experience is not defeat but regret.
—Leo Buscaglia (1924–98) American Motivational Speaker
Let’s not burden our remembrance with a heaviness that’s gone.
—William Shakespeare (1564–1616) British Playwright