Regret can be productive. It reveals what you wish you had done differently but can motivate change. You’re not satisfied with the way something is, and you decide it’s worth the effort to do something differently. You apologize, restitute, forgive, and move forward. Regret gives you the opportunity to turn away from one thing and toward another.
But resentment is related. It’s another option. It can be the same situation, but resentment makes you stuck. You can’t let go of it. You’re not willing to move until…(insert all the requirements you’ve placed on people involved).
The difference between regret and resentment is personal responsibility and humility. Regret recognizes you might not be able to change something, except the way you respond. Unlike resentment, it doesn’t place demands on others; regret invites the possibility of personal change. And isn’t that the only way we’ll grow? If our lives are dependent on what others do, what choices do we really have?
A lot. We have a lot of choices, including whether we resent or regret. Whether we get stuck or move on. Whether we see ourselves as a victim or victor. Whether we give up or have hope.
Let regret motivate you to move from where you are to where you can be. You might still be in a similar situation but with a different attitude, because you can allow regret to help you change. We are all capable if we are willing.