Confidence and Regret

Does regret influence confidence or confidence influence regret?


One of the natural tendencies we all possess by virtue of our humanity is regret. Each of us has, at one time or another, done or said something that we wish we hadn’t. It doesn’t matter whether the act was intentional or unintentional, the result is the same…we wish we hadn’t done what we’d done.

Regret can trigger some level of self-loathing and harsh judgments our own self worth. These feelings often become self-fulfilling prophecies. As confidence and self-esteem drop, we tend to do things that create more regrets. It’s a vicious cycle that all too often leads to depression, if not despair.

Fortunately it doesn’t have to be that way.


Confident people handle their regrets differently. Instead of self-loathing, they acknowledge their mistake with a genuine apology to the person they wronged.

By acknowledging openly their mistake, they recognize it for what it is…an opportunity to learn how to avoid making that same or similar mistakes in the future. Their self-esteem doesn’t suffer. They don’t judge themselves at all…much less harshly. They recognize that as a human being they’ll inevitably make mistakes and that mistakes can be remedied.

Confident people also find that they revisit their regrets less frequently. Why? Because they’ve learned from them, they’ve apologized and, the vast majority of the time, been forgiven by the person they hurt. Even when they haven’t been forgiven, they have the peace of mind knowing that they made the effort to make amends to the wronged party.

As you can see, this is a stark contrast to the experience of less-confident people described above.

The answer

As you can see it is possible for regret to influence confidence and confidence to influence regret. The question is “Which do you choose?”

It’s entirely up to you how you view regret. You can choose to view it as progress on life’s continuous learning curve. Or you can choose to languish in your regrets and feel miserable.

For you

We’re human, we’re going to make mistakes. If we choose to view these mistakes for what they are…learning opportunities in which we have the opportunity to remedy our mistakes…life remains joyful despite our occasional misstep.

If we choose the alternative…to languish in our regrets instead of remedying them and learning from them…we sentence ourselves, and those around us, to a life of misery. Indeed, we’re likely to drive away those who care most about us because they tire of us choosing misery over joy, regret over learning.

Choose wisely.

For our kids

When you see your kids regretting something they’ve said or done, help them see the choices available to them. Let them know that it’s natural for us to make mistakes. Indeed, it’s inevitable. Show them how acknowledging their mistake through apology and remedial action, regardless of the other person’s response, will enable them to feel good about themselves.

Let them know that learning from the mistake will help them avoid making the same or similar mistakes in the future, which will benefit them as well as those with whom they interact.

Finally, live the message. When your kids see you readily admit your mistakes and take action to remedy them while maintaining your positive self image…your confidence in your abilities… they will follow your lead.

If you’d like to enjoy great confidence, check out our Confidence Self-Study programs.

If you’d like to enrich the lives of others by teaching them to be more confident, check out our Teaching Confidence Instructor Certification program.

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