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Regret

  • It's but little good you'll do a-watering the last year's crop.

  • O the anguish of the thought that we can never atone to our dead for the stinted affection we gave them.

    • George Eliot,
    • "The Sad Fortunes of the Rev. Amos Barton," Scenes of Clerical Life ()
  • This is the bitterest of all, — to wear the yoke of our own wrong-doing.

  • ... nothing may be more selfish than remorse ...

  • ... it is a lean employment of time to brood on what might have happened along some other turning.

  • I don't look back. I'm like a shark — I only look forward.

  • Remorse is a simpering form of shame.

  • ... regret without grief makes more intelligent discipline. Repentance of the intellect instead of the heart, is our aim; since the heart is a sensitive little instrument intended not for hammering nails, but for telling time forever.

  • To weep over a folly is to double it.

  • It's the things you don't do, not the things you do, you feel most sorry for.

    • Winifred Holtby,
    • "So Handy for the Fun Fair" (1931), Truth Is Not Sober ()
  • Remorse ... is one of the many afflictions for which time finds a cure.

    • Winifred Holtby,
    • "The Murder of Madame Mollard" (1930), Pavements at Anderby ()
  • It was not my sins that I regretted at that time; but rather the many things undone — even those indiscretions which one might have committed and had not.

  • The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.

  • Events are absorbed and become a part of who we are. To attempt to get over them is as futile as to keep living them.

  • Never regret. If it's good, it's wonderful. If it's bad, it's experience.

  • I regret nothing, says arrogance; I will regret nothing, says inexperience.

  • ... the mill cannot grind with the water that is past.

  • Regret is a damp wind / off the used car lot / where most of our peers came to rest.

  • We might have been! — these are but common words, / And yet they make the sum of life's bewailing ...

  • ... remorse is the poison of life.

  • I have made it a rule of my 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.

  • Oh dear — Oh dear — where are my people? With whom have I been happiest? With nobody in particular. It has all been mush of a mushness.

  • I've gotten to the place where I find life too short for if-only.

  • I have no regrets. I wouldn't have lived my life the way I did if I was going to worry about what people were going to say.

  • I regret the things I didn't do, not what I did.

  • 'Remorse is a terrible thing,' says Crawford slowly. 'It is the worm that never dieth. It gnaws for ever.'

  • If there be sorrow / let it be for things undone ... / undreamed, unrealized, unattained / to these add one: / Love withheld ... / ... restrained.

    • Mari Evans,
    • "If There Be Sorrow," I Am a Black Woman ()
  • When one misses an opportunity one is apt to fancy that another will never present itself.

    • Marie Bashkirtseff,
    • 1884, in Mary J. Serrano, trans., Letters of Marie Bashkirtseff ()
  • O that one unguarded moment! / Were it mine to live again, / All the strength of its temptation / Would appeal to me in vain.

    • Phoebe Cary,
    • "The Unguarded Moment," Poems and Parodies ()
  • I truly believe that regret is the only wound the soul does not recover from, and so I'm trying to live without regrets. ... Each day is another chance to be swept away.

  • No doing without some ruing ...

  • I don't believe in mistakes. Never have. I believe that there are a multitude of paths before us and it's just a matter of which way we walk home. I don't believe in regret. If you regret things about your life, than I'll bet that you're not paying attention. Regret is just imagining that you know what would have happened if you took that job in California or married your high-school sweetheart or just looked one more time before you stepped out into the street ... or didn't. But you don't know; you can't possibly know.

  • She has built her memory on a scaffold of regrets.

    • Sandra Scofield,
    • "Loving Leo," in Jo Alexander et al., Women and Aging ()
  • Is there any stab as deep as wondering where and how much you failed those you loved?

  • The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.

  • One is not allowed a grief for a life never lived. Yet one has buried the fruit of love, and a great deal of hope and many dreams.

  • My birth day. I am sixteen Years old. How many years have been past by me in thoughtlessness & vanity.

    • Elizabeth Fuller,
    • 1792, in Francis Everett Blake, History of the Town of Princeton ()
  • We must know the measure of a man's desires before we can sound the depth of his regrets.

  • Your fear of failure should never be greater than your fear of regret.

  • Remorse is the worst thing to bear & I am afraid that I will fall a marter to it ... I will tell you why it is that I have thrown away many advantages that athers have not ...

    • Marjorie Fleming,
    • age 7 (1810), in Frank Sidgwick, The Complete Marjory Fleming ()
  • The only causes of regret are laziness, outbursts of temper, hurting others, prejudice, jealousy and envy.

  • A person without regrets is called a corpse.

  • I would rather regret what I have done than what I have not.

  • ... a dirge old as the human race is vested in those broken words — if only.

  • How swiftly the locks rust, the hinges grow stiff on doors that close behind us!

  • When I'm old, I'm never going to say, 'I didn't do this' or 'I regret that,' I'm going to say, 'I don't regret a damn thing. I came, I went, and I did it all.'

    • Kim Basinger,
    • in Joan Rivers, Don't Count the Candles ()
  • There's nothing in the world that clings / As does a memory that stings; / While happy hours fade and pass, / Like shadows in a looking-glass.

  • Do you remember / That sweet September / When sky was golden and sea was blue, / We two together / In love's own weather / Walking at sunset the woodland through. / ... / Ah! shall we ever / Walk again in the dear old way?

  • Sometimes regrets are part of the price we pay for getting where we want to go; they may even propel us to take the next step.

  • Because the truth is — and we know it — we were born to die without regrets. Regret is the only wound from which the soul never recovers.

  • Regrets are as personal as fingerprints.

  • Regret is a toxin that I try not to allow in my body.

  • There are no regrets in life, just lessons.

  • If only. Those must be the two saddest words in the world.

  • In every decision there must be some regrets.