What makes a person regret the things she/he did not do?
There is no information, what really could have happened, so, basically the regretting is based on fantasies. But even the really pessimistic people, who think that probably the worst could have happen, still regret.
Inability to be content with what is. The mind goes in million directions trying to construct a better version of reality so we are perpetually torn between desiring something we don't have and regretting the past. And when you are caught up between desire and regret, the future and the past, the present becomes irrelevant, petty, inconsequential.
It has nothing to do with what could have been if this or that happened. It's the same victim consciousness saying: i should have done/not done this, and now it's too late because it's the past, I'm powerless to change anything I can only regret it so poor me.
people usually have regret after being sincere with their actions because they were either taken advantage of or "abused". Regret also applies to those who have not been sincere or fair with their actions. Regret usually comes after one has made a sacrifice in the name of, or one has neglected or abused whatever sacrifices in the name of. Also you can have regret after exhibiting repulsive behaviors, making bad decision as well as assumption inregards to someone or something and in return you're no longer respected or acknowledged because of your actions.
At the end of the day regret should make you stronger, whether you have been negative or positive. A lesson in which both parties should learn they should not do X,Y,Z ever again!
P.S. Then again this sounds good on paper, but the average person either refuses or has no interest in "learning from their mistakes" Interest only rises when it's too late!
Emotions. The possibility of what could have happened. It makes people frightened, they begin to panic. We have a very wide imagination, which is a little miserable and makes us a little insane.
Learn from the past! You can't change it, but you can use it to improve the future. Take risks, accept failure, and do all you can to make the world a better place. You'll likely have several regrets in life, but don't let them overshadow your awesomeness!
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