TL;DR: it depends on the type of regret.
When thinking about my client with regret avoidance I could see that giving in to the fear of regret in the short term could potentially lead to some major regrets in the long term.
Decisions not made now about the objects that are standing between you and a life lived according to your strongly held beliefs and values could become a deeper regret in the future.
Although I can see all of these deeper structures of regrets potentially playing out in the lives of those I work with, for me the most distressing lost opportunities are around connection.
Pushing family, friends, neighbours away because they threaten the hoard and our emotional homeostasis may meet our needs in the moment and avoid regret in the short term. Long term we are likely to regret our shortsightedness and loss of close relationships.
Doing the work to recognise and accept our current shortcomings and continuing that work to become more integrated and psychologically healthy individuals is the place to start. Feeling connection regret because we didn’t seek help from professionals when we first recognised the hoarding problem is heart breaking.
Cutting off or taking for granted those people closest to us in order to collect and keep infinite inanimate objects seems unthinkable, right? It doesn’t make sense logically, right? But, that is exactly what is happening.
The regret we might anticipate with respect to a missed opportunity to buy a collectable figurine today will be minuscule compared to the loneliness, despair, and deep regret we will feel when we realise, 5 years from now, we are alone.
That figurine wasn’t worth the profit we could make on the sale or the space it takes up on the shelf if our loved ones have gone.
Admitting we need help from professionals must happen before we attempt to repair our relationships with those closest to us.
Our family and friends are not the help.
They have their own work to do in order to repair their lives and grow. But, taking action towards connection, however daunting that concept may be, is worth the risk.