Regret Sayings and Quotes

Making mistakes is part of being human. From not spending enough time with loved ones, to eating one spicy burrito too many, we all have regrets. The trick is to learn from past missteps and move on. Don’t let regret get you down. Below you’ll find a collection of wise, inspirational and humorous regret quotes.


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

Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves - regret for the past and fear of the future.

Fulton Oursler

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

Regret of neglected opportunity is the worst hell that a living soul can inhabit.

Rafael Sabatini

Life is too short, time is too precious, and the stakes are too high to dwell on what might have been.

Hilary Clinton

Regret is an appalling waste of energy, you can't build on it - it's only good for wallowing in.     

Katherine Mansfield

A man has cause for regret only when he sows and no one reaps.

Charles Goodyear

It's not what your are, it's what you don't become that hurts.

Oscar Levant

Maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets.

Arthur Miller

Nobody who ever gave his best regretted it.     

George Halas

One doesn't recognize the really important moments in one's life until it's too late.

Agatha Christie

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

Harriet Beecher Stowe

A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams.

John Barrymore

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

Regrets are idle; yet history is one long regret. Everything might have turned out so differently.     

Charles Dudley Warner

Forget regret, or life is yours to miss.

Jonathan Larson

For of all sad words of tongue or pen, The saddest are these: 'It might have been!

John Greenleaf Whittier

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

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

Victoria Holt

It is human nature to want to go back and fix things or change things that we regret.

John Gray

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

Mercedes Lackey

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

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

Often regret is very false and displaced, and imagines the past to be totally other than it was.     

John O'Donohue

Remorse is the poison of life.

Charlotte Bronte

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

We should regret our mistakes and learn from them, but never carry them forward into the future with us.     

Lucy Maud Montgomery

Nobody gets to live life backward. Look ahead, that is where your future lies.

Ann Landers

I have always found that each step we take in life is to be regretted-if we once begin to wonder how many other steps might have been possible.

John Oliver Hobbes

Let the dead Past bury its dead!

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow