- LIFE | DECEMBER 13, 2019 -
5 WAYS TO STOP BEATING YOURSELF UP AFTER MAKING A MISTAKE
Mistakes – we all make them, and we’re encouraged not to “beat ourselves up” over making one. However, let’s face it, some of us do and more often than we’d like to admit. I’m particularly self-critical, and at times I’ve let the smallest mistake eat me up. When it happens, a mistake can feel like the biggest mess-up of all time – something that will impact or potentially upset someone or will make you look bad – when, in reality, it isn’t such a big deal and nobody is judging you for it. As I’m constantly trying to improve how I feel after making a mistake, I’ve decided it would be fun and a good idea to share a few tips on how I remind myself that it’s really all okay.
"You can't go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending."
Mistakes are unintentional.
You don’t make mistakes on purpose, and people who are worth knowing will be aware of that and won’t criticise you. I believe that a part of why we kick ourselves after making a mistake is because we feel guilty about potentially causing a problem to others, or even to ourselves, which could have been avoided. It’s so important to reiterate in your mind that you didn’t intend on messing up in order to relieve any worries and stress!
Own your mistakes.
Taking responsibility for a mistake that you’ve made is the best thing to do. Pretending that you didn’t do something or twisting the version of events, when quite clearly a situation has occurred and you were a part of it, can cause problems in trying to resolve the issue and will result in a feeling of overwhelming guilt. Further to this, by not owning your mistakes and apologising, you are hindering yourself and perpetuating a persona and reputation of dishonesty. The truth always comes out in the end!
We’re all in the same boat.
Remembering that everybody makes mistakes is such a great way of stopping your mind from going into overdrive. There is not one person walking this planet who hasn’t had a slip up, and trust me, we’ve all had at least one major uh-oh moment. It’s life, it’s normal and sometimes we just have to push our pride to one side and accept that it’s something that will happen throughout the course of our lives and, usually, doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.
"Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them."
I’ve observed a few friends and acquaintances failing to apologise for the mistakes that they’ve made, even when it’s impacted heavily on somebody else. Sometimes, people aren’t aware of the consequences of their actions, but in most circumstances it’s more to do with a pride complex. It’s unfortunate that many people don’t feel able to accept their wrongdoings, even if they weren’t intentional, and can’t simply say “sorry” for the problems that they’ve caused, all because they feel it will undermine them or provoke an insecurity within them. I think it’s vital to say “sorry” in order to put the issue to bed and to be able to move forward positively. People really appreciate honesty and it’s as clear as day when somebody is lying. Perpetuating a lie can have a damaging impact on how you’re perceived, conversely holding your hands up and saying “I’m sorry, I’ve made a mistake” is more-often-than-not appreciate and shows genuine character and allows for a foundation for positive relationships to form.
It’s an opportunity to learn.
Adopting this mindset has been a game changer for me. By cementing the idea that a positive can come out of a negative is a brilliant way of growing and improving as a person. I believe it is essential in any given circumstance, even if I’m not to blame, to reflect on my own behaviour and pinpoint places where I can improve. In saying that, you can also learn vicariously by observing and reflecting on the behaviour of others around you. Making mistakes, or watching those from afar, gives you a perfect opportunity to reflect and think “oh, I won’t do that again” or “ah, that’s what it must feel like to be on the receiving end of that” or “I know what I’ll do next time”.