Do Not Let Regret Lead to Self-Harm

April 21, 2014 Jennifer Aline Graham

Not only did I forget to recognize The Semicolon Project on April 16, I also didn’t submit a blog on the day I was supposed to. I praise myself for being timely and recognizing days that I see as important. I typically am very organized and sometimes I become obsessed with routine. However, when I am a little off with my schedule, I tend to be filled with regret and frustration.

You can’t regret something you did or should have done – we are humans and it happens. Don't let regret lead to self-harm.

I have always thought that regret should have been the eighth deadly sin (jealousy as the ninth). By regretting an action or something you forgot to do, typically you become angry, and with that anger, you tend to beat yourself up. For those who self-harm, the way you beat yourself up can be by cutting or burning or head banging.

Sadly, strong emotions can lead to negative coping skills whether it be alcohol, drugs, purging or self-harm.

Do Not Let Regret Control Behaviors Like Self-Injury

Regret finds us all sometimes but our challenge is not to let regret lead to self-harm. Here's why.

We all have a “Biggest Regret” that we hold onto. I have always beat myself up over not calling my brother back when he called to wish me a happy 20th birthday back in the day. Why? Two days later he had a stroke and twenty-six days later he passed away. However, even though that regret had led to some cutting six years ago, I know now that we can’t ask why certain things happen in our lives because, sometimes, we will never find an answer.

We forget to do things and we do things we wish we hadn’t. That is simply just part of life. The best we can do is learn from our actions and when it comes to self-harm, that is the best thing we can do. After you go weeks without self-harming and you make a mark, you have to move away from regretting the behavior because you can’t go back and change the choice.

By regretting, you move backwards on your journey towards a mark-free life. It may be difficult, but you need to learn from the behavior instead of regretting what happened.

There is No Way to Stop Our Emotions

I can’t fill myself with regret when I forget to walk the dog or when I say something before thinking about it first. I can’t regret forgetting to wish someone a happy birthday or get jealous at someone for getting engaged or married. By feeling regret, we fill ourselves with negative emotions and those emotions are painful.

We can’t force ourselves not to feel our emotions and, truthfully, it would be sad if we could do so. We want to feel happiness when something goes well and we want to feel proud when we go a month without a cut. Without those emotions, we wouldn’t embrace the goodness in our lives.

We need to focus on the good and kick aside the negative. When you learn to do that, you will find the push you need to have a mark-free life.

You can also find Jennifer Aline Graham on Google+, Facebook, Twitter and her website is here. Find out more about Noon through

APA Reference
Aline, J. (2014, April 21). Do Not Let Regret Lead to Self-Harm, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 17 from

Author: Jennifer Aline Graham

April, 23 2014 at 8:11 am

It's such a helpful reminder that we can't help how we feel. There's so much focus these days on "what you can do to make xyz better" and "how can you help yourself when you feel xyz" that it's easy to forget that truly, we can't help how we feel, at least initially. Instead we just have to focus on the fact that we don't have to act on every feeling and that we can feel it, and then let it go. I'm a person that constantly feels regret for the silliest things and it definitely takes its toll. It's nice to be reminded that feeling regret can't actually change anything about the past (whatever I''m feeling it over) and generally only serves to be harmful to ourselves in the present and future.

Carrie Leigh Sandoval
April, 25 2014 at 8:18 am

Thank you for sharing so vulnerably and honestly!

Leave a reply