PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — If you’re human, chances are you regret something.
“There are always things you wish you’d done when you had the chance,” said Tom Joseph of Philadelphia.
“Definitely things I regret, opportunities I didn’t take,” admitted Codi Regan of Philly.
From the average person to the not so average Joe. Former Vice President Joe Biden made headlines when he told Oprah he regrets not being in the White House, but for his family’s sake, stands by his decision to not pursue the presidency.
“Sometimes when people look back, they realize they did the best they could with the situation they had,” said Dr. Thea Gallagher, a clinical psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania.
She supports Biden’s willingness to confront his regrets while maintaining what she calls a “growth mindset.”
“We want people to be able to look back, accept the feelings that go along with their decision. Then, vocalize how they would do things differently in the future,” said Gallagher.
For Biden, that could mean a presidential bid in 2020 or a supporting role in Washington. The important thing, according to Dr. Gallagher, is to avoid hindsight bias, also known as “coulda, shoulda, wouldas.”
“Sometimes we say if we had only been there, everything would have been different. And sometimes that’s not the case,” Gallagher.
If regret stems from an unmet goal, Dr. Gallagher encourages people to look for alternate paths to achieve it. If that’s not possible, create a new goal altogether.