by Ron Potter

Years ago I was thinking about the regrets in my life.  I was asking myself if there were things I should have or could have done to eliminate or reduce the number of regrets.  As I was thinking about the topic, I notice a familiar pain in my sternum.  I began to realize that I had a physical manifestation when I regretted something I had said or done.  I began to ask people I knew where their regret pain manifested itself.

Where is the pain?

Everyone seemed to have a different answer.  I heard locations like:

  • Neck
  • Shoulders
  • Forehead
  • The base of the skull
  • Forearms
  • etc.

The answers were many and varied, but the pain was a given.  No one questioned the pain itself, they just had different answers of where it was located.

“Listen” to the pain

If the pain always shows up somewhere,  become familiar with it.  The pain can and will become very familiar.  If the pain is present and identifiable, you will “know” you are in one of those moments that will result in regret.  Here’s the key, “will result in regret”.

Regret Pre-Indicator

Through experience, I began to learn that the pain was a precursor of regretful actions.  I eventually read some science about how these neurotransmitters work and indeed, there is an early warning system.  That means that the pain you become familiar with is actually a precursor to the thing you’re about to do or say will cause regret— PREgret!

I don’t know if this is a good thing or bad thing but I have become so aware of my “regret pain” that it often triggers a debate in my head:

You’re about to say something that you’re going to regret.

I know, but I think it needs to be said.

But you will regret it!  Maybe you should just back off a minute.

But it needs to be said.  I’m going to say it anyway.


Where does it hurt?

Become familiar with your “regret” pain.  If you tune into it, you’ll have a lot fewer regrets in life.


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