At times we can be so critical of ourselves and the things we’ve done in the past. The feeling of failure is like a heavy, smothering blanket of sorrow and regret. And instead of just “letting it go”, like so many people passively suggest, to get through it, feels like an impossible feat.
We wallow in yesterday’s mistakes and wonder how it’s so easy for others to just move on like nothing ever happened.
First of all, it’s not easy. Not for all of us. Some of us feel things on a different level and allow these emotions to control the days to come. Until we say enough is enough and learn how to effectively get from defeat to perseverance.
Below are a few helpful strategies to do just that!
You Are Not Your Mistakes
A single mistake, or even a series of mistakes, absolutely does not define who you are on the inside. The truth is, you are a collection of everything good and bad that has happened in your life, whether you had a hand in it or not.
The person you are right now has been conditioned by cultural surroundings, how you raised and the events that have transpired from birth to this very moment in time. Your mistakes in the past do not own you and do not deserve the power to control you.
So far, you’re batting a thousand. You’ve survived every single day of your life to this point. Mistakes do not define you. How you handle mistakes plays a bigger part than the mistake itself.
The Learning Curve of Life
We are but a work in progress. Today isn’t the end, and tomorrow probably won’t be either. The best thing we can do for ourselves and our mental health is to celebrate the wins and make room for the losses.
Treat life as a learning curve and give yourself a break. If perfection was even possible, how would one even achieve it without experience? There has to be downs to appreciate the ups, right?
We can’t just bury our heads in the sand and pretend a mistake didn’t happen. That’s not beneficial for anyone involved in the situation. And as hard as it may be, it’s better to own the mistake and use it as a tool rather than dwell on it or attempt to cover it up.
At work, go ahead and tell the boss man about the error and even ask for input on how to avoid this situation in the future. If there’s damage control to be done, take care of it and face the music. You’ll retain the respect of your boss and likely be admired by coworkers.
The same rule applies to intimate, family and parenting relationships. Accept responsibility and try to move forward as graciously as possible. Thankfully, the people closest to us don’t usually expect perfection and would gladly take sincerity and honesty over deception any day of the week.
Give Yourself the Gift of Forgiveness
To be human is to err. And you’ve undoubtedly been in a situation where someone asked for your forgiveness. Do yourself the biggest favor of all and forgive yourself. Sometimes we fall into the trap of holding ourselves to a higher standard than those around us, and that’s not fair.
It’s perfectly normal to strive for excellence, but perfection is a terrible misconception. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Learn from the experience and keep pushing to avoid making that same mistake again. Be your biggest ally, not your worst enemy.
Be Better Than Yesterday
Never stop investing in yourself. Sometimes we end up in a stagnant state or a standoff with ourselves. After a mistake we have an inner war going on with the person we despise and the person we want to be, the person we know we can be.
Don’t allow this negative thought process to put you in a stale-mate. Find ways to get better. To do better. Never stop learning and striving to attain your goals. Mistakes are going to happen. Failures are inevitable. But perseverance and positivity are much more powerful tools than tucking your tail and running for the hills.
Everybody makes mistakes. It’s part of life. When we learn to pick up the pieces and make something meaningful, something we are proud of, is when we have reached the ultimate level of personal development.
A level that cannot easily be shaken. A level that reframes what once was deemed a critical mistake into a minor setback. It’s all up to you. You and only you determine how much power you allow the past to have in your life and in your future!