What’s the difference between disappointment and regret? And why does it matter?
During challenging times, we may find ourselves feeling down about the things that happen – or don’t happen. This is entirely understandable – and it’s important to recognise and acknowledge our emotions, but how we frame things is vitally important.
REGRET can be a useful emotion. We feel it when we look back and can see how we might have acted differently. This rumination is an opportunity to improve ourselves by learning from our mistakes.
DISAPPOINTMENT is what we feel when we miss out on something for reasons beyond our control.
The crucial difference is agency – whether or not our actions can make a difference.
Understanding this subtle distinction can help us manage whatever we are currently dealing with – and the other challenges we will inevitably face in our lives.
When we could have done something differently, it’s important to learn from our regrets.
But when a situation is out of our control, we mustn’t be too hard on ourselves. It’s better to acknowledge our disappointment, then resolve to move on.
What can you learn from your most recent challenge?