Difference Between Regret and Repentance

Regret vs Repentance
 

Regret is a feeling of remorse that is a negative emotion as it leads one to think continuously about his past action or behavior and causes more shame, guilt, anger, disappointment etc. Repentance is a positive emotion as it makes one learn about his mistake, and he vows not to repeat it in the future.

 

Regret, repentance, remorse, etc. are all words that reflect feelings or emotion of sorrow. If you are self-reproachful for your past act or behavior, it is said that you are full of regret and repentance. We feel sorry when we are caught red handed after doing something morally or legally wrong as we face the prospect of punishment or are looked down upon by those who matter in our lives. Most people use the words regret and repent interchangeably as if they were synonymous. Despite their similarities, there are some differences between regret and repentance that will be brought to the fore in this article.

Regret

If you have acted or behaved in a particular manner in the past that brought pain or mishap for you in one form or the other, you regret having acted or behaved in that manner. You feel sorry for your past act or behavior, and there are many different emotions that get reflected when you are regretful such as disappointment, shame, guilt, embarrassment, etc. You regret not having enrolled for higher education when you see your friends getting attractive salaries and living a better lifestyle than you. There can even be a regret of inaction when you feel that you should have taken a timely action to prevent a mishap. There are people who feel sorry only because they have been caught doing something wrong and not necessarily for doing something wrong. This is why regret is called a negative emotion as an individual continues to think about his past mistakes and becomes full of feelings of anger, disappointment, and even hatred and depression.

Regret is also used as a noun as when people send their regrets for their inability to accept an invitation.

Repentance

Repentance is a verb that expresses feelings of sorrow, remorse, or contrite for some past action or behavior. This is a definition that makes repentance almost similar to regret. If you feel sorry for your act or behavior, you actually repent for it. If one looks back at his past life and feels remorse for some of his actions in the past, he is going through a feeling of repentance. However, in repentance, there are no negative emotions as one repents to become a better person. In repentance, there is a retrospection of the past mistake and a search for a better way so as to not commit the mistake if such a situation arises in the future. In repentance, there is a commitment towards change. Thus, repentance is an act that intends to make one a better person. If you are repenting, it means you are learning from your mistakes and willing to change to become a better person.

Repentance for one’s sins is considered an integral part of the road to salvation in most religions of the world.

What is the difference between Regret and Repentance?

• Regret and repentance are taken as synonyms these days, and indeed dictionaries give one as the meaning of another.

• However, regret is a feeling of remorse that is a negative emotion as it leads one to think continuously about his past action or behavior and causes more shame, guilt, anger, disappointment etc.

• On the other hand, repentance is a positive emotion as it makes one learn about his mistake, and he vows not to repeat it in the future.

• Repentance is an important concept in all religions to make one move ahead on the path of salvation.