Guilt Vs. Regret

Difference Between Guilt And Regret

We should know the difference between guilt and regret as there are many things that can stop us from doing the right things. As for example – Ethnicity, surrounding and financial conditions generally limit or capacities and thus the knowledge the difference between guilt and regret has a significant contribution in reducing the guilty feeling. So we can see that, regret can be a motivating factor, so that people can be careful about the decisions, to be taken in future.

Guilt is a feeling that comes when we are aware of the fact that we have taken a wrong action and regret is a feeling that comes from the knowledge that something could have been done in a better way. The knowledge of the difference prevents one from blaming himself because as a human being we get our knowledge from the culture and learning of our forefathers. Hence one cannot be expected to do something that is not known to him.

When you have a feeling about an action that you know is not right, then the feeling can be called regret. Regret can be about something that is said. When someone is regretting, he is actually looking at an action from a different point of view which he previously failed to view due to lack of knowledge. Regret comes with a feeling of positive resolution. These actions can vary from a simple apology to the resistance from a negative habit.

On the other hand Guilt does not lead to a positive resolution. It generally leads to downbeat actions and results in causing harm to one. Guilt brings in a negative feeling for one’s own self and often leads to psychiatric condition like depression. This happens because the more guilt you have, the more you think about the explanation that needs to be given regarding it, and when nothing can be done about it depression sets in.

Positive guilt paves the way to remorse that may trigger some positive actions that tries to modify and rectify the actions. However, unlike guilt, the feeling of regret can undo the effect of any wrong action.


  1. While guilt does not bring in any positive action, regret can do it for sure.
  2. Regret is a result that comes from the knowledge that something was not properly done and could have been done in a better way. However guilt comes from an action that one knows is not a right thing to do.
  3. Guilt is a constant negative feeling that one feels for himself and regret is a determination to rectify the wrong actions.

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