At first, we attribute all of our vices and virtues to ourselves. When some bad quality is revealed within a person that is unbearable, then he begins to be sorry about his past or current actions. He especially regrets the past, either the immediate past or that farther away. However, because of this he doesn’t lower himself; it doesn’t make him humble although it may seem so to him.
Instead of regretting the past, he must decide above this feeling of regret, which is given to him by the Creator, that there is none else besides the Creator. After all, everything that happened in the past was done by the Creator. And man has no reason to regret it.
On the contrary, he must not give into his egoistic feelings supposing that he is now a righteous person if he repents for his bad deeds, his bad attitude toward someone, his mistakes, weakness and anger. After all, the Creator arranged everything this way and it is He who is showing man that he is not able to connect all of these events with the Creator.
That’s why one needs to regret not about the past or what happened, but about the fact that you are currently unable to attribute everything only to the Creator. And if that’s so, then where does the vanity of a man lie? Not in the fact that he was once bad, but in the fact that he can’t determine above all his perceptions, that there is none else besides the Creator. This is what his lowliness and weakness lies in.
From the Preparation to the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 8/2/12