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Difference Between Guilt and Regret

Guilt vs Regret

It is very important to make a distinction between guilt and regret for the simple fact that many things can limit us in doing what could otherwise be the best course of action. For instance, culture, environment and economic conditions can be common limits to our abilities and hence, knowing the all-significant distinction goes a long way to reduce the guilt load to what it really should be, and that is regret. The importance of this is that regret can actually be a source of motivation to be more cautious in any decisions to be made in the future.

Guilt arises from doing some action that we know was not the right thing to do ‘at that particular time’ while regret is a result of knowing that something could have been done in a better way from the way it was actually done. Knowing this difference helps to prevent self-blame situations as all humans are a result of time and culture of parents, grandparents and great grandparents. So, no one is expected to act on information that he did not already have.

Regret has so much to do with recognizing that some action was committed (or not) but may not have been an enlightened one. That’s basically regret. It could be recognition of some inaction or words said. In regret, one sees the action in a ‘different light’ where previously he couldn’t due to fear or ignorance. Regret almost always inspires a positive action or resolution. A resolution may be not to ever repeat the same actions and a positive action may be as simple as an apology.

However, the state of guilt doesn’t always result into positivity. In fact, it often results in negative actions and at times self harm. Guilt carries a persistent bad feeling toward oneself and it may advance into psychiatric conditions like depression. This is because the more the guilty feelings grow the more justifications one may try to seek and usually, these will not hold weight, giving way to desperation and depression.

‘Positive’ guilt may lead to remorse which fuels some positive action like trying to undo the damage of the actions committed (if still possible). However, generally, guilt doesn’t fuel good actions while regret does. Regret is some sort of enlightenment.

Summary
1. Regret leads to positivity while guilt doesn’t.
2. Guilt arises from doing some action that we know was not the right thing to do ‘at that particular time’ while regret is a the result of knowing that something might have been done in a better way than how it was actually done.
3. Guilt carries a persistent bad feeling toward oneself whereas regret fuels determination to undo bad actions or not repeat them.


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1 Comment

  1. Regret is self remorse.
    Guilt is a selfish attitude stemming from Pride. A person wallowing in guilt is saying “I am better than this, this isn’t really me”,

    Neither one is repentance and turning away from the ill attitude and intent in which the ill deeds grow, however.

    The “guilt” attitude, being based in Pride, is the most wretched since the guilt person will do things to self redeem as if they were there own god when God created every man flawed and F’ed up. The guilt person will say in their heart, I am better than this; God will say, “No you aren’t! I made you f’ed and flawed on purpose with the devil’s dirt on the outside with the breath of God on the inside for the purpose of coming to the realization that you are doomed and f’ed for eternity without surrendering the life I gave you and surrender to Me.”

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