150 Regret Quotes to Help You Heal From the Past

Put the past behind you and forgive yourself with these top regret quotes.

Regrets are negative thoughts and feelings that rob us of the ability to live in the present. We keep thinking that we could have done things differently if we could go back to the past. 

Everyone has regrets. It is a sign of growth because we realize that we can now do better than before. However, it is unhealthy to keep dwelling on our failures.

Move on, learn from the past, and live in the moment. Check out our entire collection below to read some of the wisest words about regrets.

Let’s get started.

Best Regret Quotes

1. “Our biggest regrets are not for the things we have done but for the things we haven’t done.” – Chad Michael Murray 

2. “Regrets only apply when we don’t learn from a situation. No sense looking back. Look forward with new knowledge and no regret.” – Catherine Pulsifer 

3. “If you live long enough, you’ll make mistakes. But if you learn from them, you’ll be a better person. It’s how you handle adversity, not how it affects you. The main thing is never quit, never quit, never quit.” – William J. Clinton 

4. “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

5. “We all do things we desperately wish we could undo. Those regrets just become part of who we are, along with everything else. To spend time trying to change that, well, it’s like chasing clouds.” – Libba Bray

6. “The one thing I learned is to just give everything a shot. You don’t want to live in regret.” – Chloe Kim

7. “Don’t waste your time in anger, regrets, worries, and grudges. Life is too short to be unhappy.” – Roy T. Bennett

8. “We all make mistakes, have struggles, and even regret things in our past. But you are not your mistakes, you are not your struggles, and you are here now with the power to shape your day and your future.” – Steve Maraboli

9. “We crucify ourselves between two thieves—regret for yesterday and fear of tomorrow.” – Fulton Oursler

10. “There are two kinds of guilt, the kind that drowns you until you’re useless, and the kind that fires your soul to purpose.” – Sabaa Tahir

11. “The past could always be annihilated. Regret, denial, or forgetfulness could do that, but the future was inevitable.” – Oscar Wilde

12. “Don’t live your life regretting yesterday. Live your life so tomorrow you won’t regret today.” – Catherine Pulsifer

13. “‘If only.’ Those must be the two saddest words in the world.” – Mercedes Lackey 

14. “Life is too short, time is too precious, and the stakes are too high to dwell on what might have been.” – Hilary Clinton 

15. “It is better to look ahead and prepare than to look back and regret.” – Jackie Joyner Kersee 

Quotes to Inspire You to Learn From Your Regrets

16. “Never regret. If it’s good, it’s wonderful. If it’s bad, it’s experience.” – Victoria Holt

17. “Stop fretting about past decisions. They have provided valuable wisdom. Go forward without fear or regret.” – Paul Martens

18. “Regret of neglected opportunity is the worst hell that a living soul can inhabit.” – Rafael Sabatini

19. “Nobody who ever gave his best regretted it.” – George Halas

20. “You can’t regret the life you didn’t lead.” – Junot Díaz

21. “One of the greatest regrets in life is being what others would want you to be, rather than being yourself.” – Shannon L. Alder

22. “Regret is mostly caused by not having done anything.” – Charles Bukowski

23. “Forget regret, or life is yours to miss. No other path, no other way, no day but today.” – Jonathan Larson

24. “Regrets are idle, yet history is one long regret. Everything might have turned out so differently.” – Charles Dudley Warner

25. “We don’t have to be defined by the things we did or didn’t do in our past. Some people allow themselves to be controlled by regret. Maybe it’s a regret. Maybe it’s not. It’s merely something that happened. Get over it.” – Pittacus Lore

26. “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

27. “If I’m sincere today, what does it matter if I regret it tomorrow?” – José Saramago

28. “Sure, you wish you did some things differently. But there is no sense in becoming burdened with regret over things you have no power to change.” – Rihanna Fenty

29. “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 J. Harris

30. “Maybe, all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets.” – Arthur Miller

Quotes to Help You Move On From Your Regrets

31. “Worrying about past regrets does nothing to change the past. Your future is where your focus should be.” – Catherine Pulsifer

32. “Never despair. Keep pushing on!” – Sir Thomas Lipton

33. “Never regret trusting someone. It proves you have a heart. But if he turns out to be a lying worm, I’m not going to waste my time crying because I am way too fabulous for that.” – Jude Watson

34. “Regret is counterproductive. It’s looking back on a past that you can’t change. Questioning things as they occur can prevent regret in the future.” – Colleen Hoover

35. “Regret is like a mountain top from which we survey our dead life.” – George Moore

36. “Regret is a universal emotion. We all make wrong or foolish choices, or something or someone does something hurtful to us, and we regret it.” – Dave Ferguson

37. “Don’t regret your mistakes. You’ll always make mistakes. The better you are, the less mistakes you make. The only way to get better is to thoroughly analyze your mistakes.” – James Altucher

38. “Regret, remorse, sorrow—all emotions that can result in negative feelings. Only you can change your emotions to positive ones, you cannot change the past, but you can change the future.” – Catherine Pulsifer

39. “Regrets are pointless. It’s too late for regrets. You’ve already done it, haven’t you? You’ve lived your life. No point wishing you could change it.” – Lemmy Kilmister

40. “There is no need to lament on the bygone failures. Instead, concentrate on things that you can change and let other things take their own course.” – Robert Gallagher

41. “No amount of guilt can change the past, and no amount of worrying can change the future.” – Umar ibn al-Khattab

42. “Every step towards your dream today is a step away from your regret tomorrow.” – Steve Maraboli

43. “There is no point in regretting for things that have happened, but it makes a big difference to think about a solution or idea to change the unexpected outcome or effects of the choices made.” – Lindsay Hallie

44. “When one door closes, another opens, but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” – Alexander Graham Bell

45. “It’s nice to look back on your life and see things as lessons, and not regrets.” – Rihanna Fenty

Quotes That Will Give You Hope for the Future Despite Your Regrets

46. “I never regret anything because every little detail of your life is what made you into who you are in the end.” – Drew Barrymore

47. “Regret doesn’t remind us that we did badly. It reminds us that we know we can do better.” – Kathryn Schulz

48. “To admit regret is to understand that we are fallible, that there are powers beyond us. To admit regret is to lose control not only of a difficult past but of the very story we tell about our present. To admit sincere and abiding regret is one of our greatest but unspoken contemporary sins.” – David Whyte

49. “We should regret our mistakes and learn from them, but never carry them forward into the future with us.” – Lucy Maud Montgomery

50. “I don’t regret what I’ve been through. I’ve had ups and downs, super highs, and some really low lows. I’ve been so blessed that I could never say, ‘I wish this didn’t happen.’ It’s part of who I am. There’s nothing in my life that’s so ‘ugh.'” – Jennifer Lopez

51. “There is one common trait found in all greatness—how people use the space between stimulus and response. In short, how do people deal with adversity, with setbacks, with suffering, heartache, disappointment, and injustice?” – Stephen R. Covey

52. “I am what I am. I don’t regret anything.” – Kamaru Usman

53. “If you are afraid to take a chance, take one anyway. What you don’t do can create the same regrets as the mistakes you make.” – Iyanla Vanzant

54. “We cannot always change what has happened to us, but we can change how we react and how we live in the future. Living with no regrets is living successfully.” – Ellen Taricani

55. “When something goes wrong in your life, it doesn’t finish you, and you should become braver knowing that you’ve got to go for things in life and don’t regret because you didn’t try to be as good as you might be.” – Gareth Southgate

56. “I have to laugh at the times I’ve knocked myself out over a tough spot only to find out afterwards there was an easier way.” – Robert Franklin Leslie

57. “You can never regret anything you do in life. You kind of have to learn the lesson from whatever the experience is and take it with you on your journey forward.” – Aubrey O’Day

58. “We have to let go of all blame, all attacking, all judging to free our inner selves to attract what we say we want.” – Joe Vitale

59. “To not live in regret or fear that my past determines the beauty or success of my future has been one of my life’s greatest lessons.” – Kendra Tillman

60. “The only thing I regret about my past is the length of it. If I had to live my life again, I’d make all the same mistakes, only sooner.” – Tallulah Bankhead

Wise Quotes That Will Give You Life-Changing Lessons About Regrets

61. “As long as you feel good in something, it doesn’t matter what other people think. You just have to own it. You’ll never regret wearing something you really love.” – Lucy Boynton

62. “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.” – William O’Rourke

63. “There is no more disastrous mania, no more dangerous whim than the speculation over roads not taken.” – Juan Gabriel Vásquez

64. “The longer our trail of regrets, the more we tend to value the importance of making wise decisions.” – Bob Santos

65. “Never regret anything from your past because one day, you’ll look back and thank it for hurting you so much that you decided to become a stronger human being.” – Faith Starr

66. “If we fill our hours with regrets over the failures of yesterday, we have no today in which to be thankful.” – Anonymous

67. “At the end of your life, you want to look back and have no regrets! To do this, you need to start living today with your end in mind.” – Father Larry Richards

68. “If you put in little effort and expect big returns, you will be deeply disappointed. You don’t get apples by planting lemon seeds.” – Catherine Pulsifer

69. “There was a long hard time when I kept far from me the remembrance of what I had thrown away when I was quite ignorant of its worth.” – Charles Dickens

70. “A great source of calamity lies in regret and anticipation. Therefore, a person is wise who thinks of the present alone, regardless of the past or future.” – Oliver Goldsmith

71. “The feelings that hurt most, the emotions that sting most, are those that are absurd. The longing for impossible things, precisely because they are impossible. Nostalgia for what never was. The desire for what could have been. Regret over not being someone else. Dissatisfaction with the world’s existence. All these half-tones of the soul’s consciousness create in us a painful landscape, an eternal sunset of what we are.” – Fernando Pessoa

72. “Unforgiving hearts die in regret.” – Anonymous

73. “My goal in life is to make decisions that minimize regrets. I don’t regret anything I’ve done.” – Jake Pavelka

74. “The only calibration that counts is how much heart people invest. How much they ignore their fears of being hurt, or caught out, or humiliated, and the only thing people regret is that they didn’t live boldly enough, that they didn’t invest enough heart, didn’t love enough. Nothing else really counts at all.” – Ted Hughes

75. “I have no regrets in my life. I think that everything happens to you for a reason. The hard times that you go through build character, making you a much stronger person.” – Rita Mero

Quotes on Regrets You Have With Love

76. “Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.” – Kahlil Gibran

77. “Sensitive people either love deeply or they regret deeply. There really is no middle ground because they live in passionate extremes.” – Shannon L. Alder

78. “I don’t think I could love you so much if you had nothing to complain of and nothing to regret. I don’t like people who have never fallen or stumbled. Their virtue is lifeless and of little value. Life hasn’t revealed its beauty to them.” – Boris Pasternak

79. “There was once a love which I did not learn to cherish. It was only when I lost it that I felt extreme regret. There is no worse experience than such feeling.” – Anonymous

80. “Eventually, something you love is going to be taken away, and then you will fall to the floor crying. And then, however much later, it is finally happening to you. You’re falling to the floor crying, thinking, ‘I am falling to the floor crying,’ but there’s an element of the ridiculous to it—you knew it would happen and, even worse, while you’re on the floor crying, you look at the place where the wall meets the floor, and you realize you didn’t paint it very well.” – Richard Siken

81. “Time was passing like a hand waving from a train I wanted to be on. I hope you never have to think about anything as much as I think about you.” – Jonathan Safran Foer

82. “The essential sadness is to go through life without loving. But it would be almost equally sad to leave this world without ever telling those you loved that you love them.” – Anonymous

83. “Well, it’s true that I have been hurt in my life quite a bit. But it’s also true that I have loved and been loved, and that carries a weight of its own. A greater weight, in my opinion, it’s like that pie chart we talked about earlier. In the end, I’ll look back on my life and see that the greatest piece of it was love. The problems, the divorces, the sadness those will be there too, but just smaller slivers, tiny pieces.” – Sarah Dessen

84. “Hurting people you love is the heaviest kind of regret.” – Charlotte Eriksson

85. “If you ever react with anger, it will overtake you. You will say something or do something you regret.” – Rhonda Hart

86. “When it’s gone, you’ll know what a gift love was. You’ll suffer like this. So go back and fight to keep it.” – Ian McEwan

87. “Looking back, I have this to regret, that too often when I loved, I did not say so.” – Ray Stannard Baker

88. “‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” – Alfred Lord Tennyson

89. “Love is never lost. If not reciprocated, it will flow back, and soften, and purify the heart.” – Washington Irvin

90. “The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost.” – Gilbert Keith Chesterson

Heartbreaking Quotes on Regrets

91. “Living with regrets was like driving a car that only moved in reverse.” – Jodi Picoult

92. “I want to undo this. To make it right, but I have no idea how. I don’t seem to know how to open up to people without getting the door slammed in my face, so I do nothing.” – Gayle Forman

93. “Heartbreak could be lived with if it weren’t accompanied by regret.” – Laura Kasischke

94. “I’ve got a bad case of the 3:00 a.m, guilts. You know, when you lie in bed awake and replay all those things you didn’t do right? Because, as we all know, nothing solves insomnia like a nice warm glass of regret, depression, and self-loathing.” – Don DeBrandt

95. “I regret those times when I’ve chosen the dark side. I’ve wasted enough time not being happy.” – Jessica Lange

96. “Sometimes, I wish life was written pencil so we could erase it and write it all over again.” – Thisuri Wanniarachchi

97. “When we grow old, there can only be one regret—not to have given enough of ourselves.” – Eleonora Duse

98. “We should have taken our chances back then when we were young and beautiful and didn’t even know it.” – Lois McMaster Bujold

99. “I wanted to tell her everything. Maybe if I’d been able to, we could have lived differently. Maybe, I’d be there with you now instead of here. Maybe, if I’d said, ‘I’m so afraid of losing something I love that I refuse to love anything,’ maybe, that would have made the impossible possible. Maybe, but I couldn’t do it. I had buried too much, too deeply inside me, and here I am, instead of there.” – Jonathan Safran Foer

100. “There are moments in your life where you realize you could do nothing, but if you do, you’ll probably regret it forever.” – Milana Vayntrub

101. “At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict, or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, or a parent.” – Barbara Bush

102. “The price of fear is often regret for what could have been.” – Brian Cagneey

103. “One of the biggest fears that a lot of people have is the fear of missing out, of regret. ‘I could have done this’ or ‘I wish I would have done that.'” – Ben Gothard

104. “If we don’t deal with the roots of our regrets, if we don’t make the choice to start over, the costs of what we’re missing out on can be enormous and will accrue exponentially over time.” – Dave Ferguson

105. “I don’t have many regrets. I regret mistakes, particularly those that damage other people, and we’ve all made some of those. But I’m not sad about change.” – John Gutfreund

Relatable Quotes That Put Regret Into Perspective 

106. “The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.” – Harriet Beecher Stowe

107. “For the rest of my life, I would be thinking about her. She would always be my biggest what if.” – Rick Riordan

108. “Have you ever hoped for something and held out for it against all the odds? Until everything you did was ridiculous?” – Ali Shaw

109. “When you are grieving, you might find it helpful to have a trusted confidant to talk with about your memories, regrets, fears, joys, and feelings. Talking helps you process what you’re feeling and come to terms with how things will change.” – Sandra V. Abell

110. “Maybe it was the alcohol, maybe it was the truth, maybe I didn’t want things to turn abstract, but I felt I should say it because this was the moment to say it, because it suddenly dawned on me that this was why I had come, to tell him, ‘You are the only person I’d like to say goodbye to when I die because only then will this thing I call my life make any sense. And if I should hear that you died, my life as I know it, the me who is speaking with you now, will cease to exist.” – André Aciman

111. “If you had to relive your life exactly as it was, same successes and failures, same happiness, same miseries, same mixture of comedy and tragedy, would you want to? Was it worth it?” – Gavin Extence

112. “Never regret anything you have done with a sincere affection. Nothing is lost that is born of the heart.” – Basil Rathbone

113. “Something you need most might be something you turn away from, something you turn away from might be something you regret, and something you regret, in the end, might cost you the one chance you ever had.” – Brian Judge

114. “I would much rather have regrets about not doing what people said than regretting not doing what my heart led me to and wondering what life had been like if I’d just been myself.” – Brittany Renée

115. “Don’t regret another birthday. The good news is that you are alive and can celebrate it.” – Catherine Pulsifer

Beautiful Quotes to Treasure Past Mistakes and Regrets

116. “Nobody gets to live life backward. Look ahead. That is where your future lies.” – Ann Landers

117. “Never look back and regret. Look back and smile at what you have learned.” – Michelle C. Ustaszeski

118. “Never regret yesterday. Life is in you today, and you make your tomorrow.” – L. Ron Hubbard

119. “First, imagine taking the potentially regret-producing path of inaction. Then, imagine what the very best outcome would be were you to take this risk. By picturing both scenarios in advance, you can avoid the regret of what might have been.” – Wayne Dyer

120. “A man has cause for regret only when he sows, and no one reaps.” – Charles Goodyear

121. “To live with regret is to be mired in the past and a past that cannot be changed in any way. No matter how much you may think that recounting issues that have caused you problems over the last few years, it will not help you to move towards creating a better or a new life.” – Catherine Pulsifer

122. “Most of us have had regrets and recognize how they can hold us back or keep us stuck in life and relationships. Overcoming the past is important for anyone desiring to live beyond mistakes and the problems they make.” – Ron Neff

123. “Live in the present tense, facing the duty at hand without regret for the past or worry over the future.” – William de Witt Hyde

124. “Regret is an unavoidable result of any loss. For in loss, we lose the tomorrow that we needed to make right our yesterday or today.” – Gerald Lawson Sittser

125. “It’s not what you are. It’s what you don’t become that hurts.” – Oscar Levant

Quotes on Living Without Regrets

126. “You will never regret doing the right thing.” – Anonymous

127. “The regrets most people have in their old age are for the things they never did.” – N.C. Harley

128. “Did you know the number one regret that people have on their death bed is that they wish they’d had the courage to live a life true to themselves and not what others expected of them?” – Rachel Rofe

129. “Don’t regret knowing the people who came into your life. Good people give you happiness. Bad ones give you experience. The worst ones give you lessons, and the best people give you memories.” – Anonymous

130. “Once you see there is a solution to every obstacle that stands in your way, you’ll be left with no more excuses for not getting everything you want in your life.” – Mark Black

Motivating Quotes to Better Yourself in Spite of Your Regrets

131. “We limit ourselves through regret, hostility, and guilt, yet none of this controls us.” – Brian M. Heater

132. “We all make mistakes in life. That’s true. Some little, some big, some simple, and some more complex. Some mistakes we regret forever.” – Rashard Royster

133. “In history, as in human life, regret does not bring back a lost moment, and a thousand years will not recover something lost in a single hour.” – Stefan Zweig

134. “Many people choose to dwell on their failures. This leads to unnecessary worrying, regret, shame, and stress. Instead of dwelling on the past, you can reflect on your experiences and use negative situations as a learning experience.” – Morris Pratt

135. “Concentrating on negatives, regrets, or second thoughts won’t change what has happened.” – A.C. Aseh

More Quotes About Regrets 

136. “Repent, to regret the wrong actions we have done or our failure to do things we should have done, and to turn from such behavior, seeking God’s forgiveness.” – Jo Swinney

137. “Do not brood over your past mistakes and failures as this will only fill your mind with grief, regret, and depression. Do not repeat them in the future.” – Swami Sivananda

138. “Sometimes I sit down, and I think, ‘Do I regret this? Do I regret that?’ And I feel like everything makes this snowball effect, you know? If you regret something, it’s good because it just means that it’s something that’s affected you enough for you to stop and think. There’s a reason that everything happens.” – Santan Dave

139. “If you’re always dragging yourself down with the past, how is God going to lift you up in the future?” – Stephen Arterburn

140. “Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind.” – Clive Staples Lewis

141. “People always ask me, ‘What is it that you regret?’ And I say, ‘Nothing because I could not buy what I’ve learned.’ And I apply those things to my life I learn. And hopefully, hopefully, it helps me to be a better human in the future and make better choices.” – Katy Perry

142. “What does God want you to do with your regrets instead? Admit your guilt. Accept Christ’s forgiveness. Forgive yourself and focus on the future.” – Rick Warren

143. “There’s no regret. You can’t regret. I mean, I’ve felt regret, but I’ve also refused to allow regret to sow a seed and live in me because I don’t believe it. You feel it. It’s like guilt. It’s like jealousy. It’s like all those horrible things. You’ve just got to snip them and get them out because they’re no good.” – Jude Law

144. “I never look back, darling. It distracts from the now.” – Edna Mode

145. “Let’s dare to promote ourselves to better ‘us’ by working hard and moving forward instead of regretting and rewinding the past.” – Pantea Kalhor

146. “Will you continue to be defined by your bad decisions, or will you look beyond them to God, who can take what you give Him and turn it into something productive and eternal? You can choose a life of prolonged regret or a life of optimism and fulfillment. It’s your call.” – Erwin W. Lutzer

147. “Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.” – Henry David Thoreau

148. “I’m living with every step. I can’t live with regret. The past is the past. I’m not worried about it. I can’t change it. I can’t fix it. It is what it is. I’m just living.” – Ryan Sheckler

149. “Do not look back upon what has been done. Go ahead!” – Swami Vivekananda

150. “I made decisions that I regret, and I took them as learning experiences. I’m human, not perfect, like anybody else.” – Queen Latifah

Have You Forgiven Yourself From Your Past Actions?

Without making amends to our past selves, we will never move forward. It is essential to accept that we are flawed, and our experiences are the teachers that will help us grow. 

It is up to us if we let our fears and regrets interfere with our present life. We can use our negative emotions to transform into someone wiser and stronger or wallow in self-pity and shame. 

Our present self is the result of our past actions. We hope that our collection was able to help you confront your mistakes and make peace with what happened. Just remember to be kinder to yourself and let go of your regrets. 

Did you learn a lot from this collection? How did you cope with your regrets? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

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Karen Danao

Hi, I’m Karen, a content curator and writer for Quote Ambition; I’m also a marketing and advertising professional. Beyond the keyboard and the screen, I’m someone who’s out to enjoy every bit that life has to offer!

Poetry, philosophy, history, and movies are all topics I love writing about! However, my true passion is in traveling, photography, and finding common ground to which everyone from different cultures can relate.

With the many places I’ve been to, I found that love, inspiration, and happiness are some things that bring people together. No matter how different we are on the outside, I’m a true believer that our emotions don’t lie; if you dig deep into our psyche, we’re all the same inside.

This belief was further amplified when I joined Quote Ambition. Through the quotes I’ve read, collected, organized, and written about, I found that humans are resilient, creative, and compassionate.

We take from each others’ hearts and courage, and it’s through our individual experiences that we learn how to rise above our challenges and pain. In so many ways, Quote Ambition is a platform that allows people from all over the world to gain the inspiration they need anytime, anywhere!

You can find me on MuckRack and LinkedIn.