I woke up this morning heart sick. I made a mistake and couldn’t get over how badly I regretted it. We’ve all been there. Maybe you’re there now. You go through an experience, make a mistake, and deeply regret your actions. I am a deep thinker, a self-reflector, and diehard analyzer. This means after I’ve made a mistake I analyze every single detail about what just occurred. I focus on the details, the facts, the truths, and agonize over what I could have done differently. Even more, I beat myself up about it. You failed. So what? You can get over regret with some simple steps, and you’ll be so relieved you did.While self-reflection is great and leads you into a place of growth and learning, the problem lies when you let that self-reflection become an obsession. It’s really a miserable process that will only lead you to depression and feeling like a failure. By remembering these simple truths and focusing onf some self-improvement tasks, you will be a better person for it.
1. We all make mistakes.
As much as we don’t want to (especially if you’re a perfectionist like me) you are in fact human and the inevitable truth is that you will make mistakes. I’m not saying this as an excuse to repeatedly make mistakes or so you don’t take responsibility for your actions, however, you should be able to find relief in knowing that you are not a failure just because you’re human.
Instead of focusing on the past, or the misery of regret, focus on what lies ahead. Take regret as an opportunity to build yourself back up, not beat yourself up. Yes, to be certain, no one likes making mistakes, but those mistakes do not define you, and if you allow it, they will make you stronger.
Use your experience to learn from it. Study the situation, recall the facts, figure out how to be a better version of yourself next time and MOVE ON.
Challenge yourself with the tough questions:
- How can I use this as an opportunity to learn and grow?
- What actions do I need to take now, so that I can hold myself accountable?
- What can I do differently if faced with something similar again?
Think about what you can do to keep placing one foot in front of the other and move forward. Perhaps you need to have a conversation with someone or get an accountability partner, but whatever those steps are, take it with stride and a smile.
Moving on may be easier said than done, but you need to accept your mistakes for what they are and forgive yourself. Embrace your imperfections by reminding yourself they are an opportunity to grow. Have compassion on yourself through the process. Forgiveness may not always come so readily by others, but you can change how you feel about yourself. Accept that you are not always “right” and that you did the best you could at that time. Now that you see things differently, you can not only improve yourself but forgive yourself too. Forgiveness is key to being a healthier and happier you.
5. Find hope that you will get a second chance.
I’m not saying you will get a do-over or can change the past (wouldn’t that be nice) but you will be presented with new opportunities to practice what you’ve learned. In those new experiences, you can use your past reflections to face the fear of failure head on and do it differently. Because of your courage to learn from your mistakes, you will be wiser the second time around and stronger because of how you chose to face it.
Take it from me, an “expert” at making mistakes, you do not have to agonize over regret.
Photo Credit // Samantha Weissbach Photography