VOS: Dealing with mistakes and guilt

Dealing with mistakes and guilt

Emotional wellbeing

December 2020

Dealing with mistakes and guilt

Some say making mistakes is a sign of being a human. Without a doubt, there are a thousand better signs of it. There are mistakes which are quite funny and we can laugh about them and just fix them easily. But there are also mistakes which can lead to awful and annoying feelings. It can totally destroy our day. In this situation, we often wish we would be able to travel in time and avoid messing things up. But there is not such a possibility (yet) so the only thing we can do is to get over it. But how do that? Let’s find out!

Be kind to yourself

An important step on your way to getting over a mistake is forgiveness. You need to forgive yourself and let go. Mistakes have a negative influence on our self-esteem. Right after it happens it feels like we are useless and maybe we should just stay back and don’t do anything. But that’s not true. Yes, we can only see our mistake and perceive it as really monumental but right now there are thousands of people who just messed-up. We didn’t do it on purpose but it just happens to everyone. It doesn’t tell anything about our worth, it just shows that nobody’s perfect and it’s completely normal to mess up sometimes.

As it’s written in Alesha Chilton’s article, we need to let go and remind ourselves that we are good people who are capable of doing amazing things. Think about the good things you’ve done, go through your achievements.

Turn your mistake into a valuable lesson

When we make mistakes we keep on thinking about what we lost, what we destroyed. Even if it’s really hard sometimes, try to perceive your mistakes as your possibility to grow. And the best thing to do when you want to improve yourself is to write down the things you want to achieve. As it’s written in Dr Jane Genovese’s article, sometimes the mistake can make you realize what you would like to be able to do (even though you can’t do it yet.) So if you’re thinking about the mistake you just made trying to find out which skill you would need to have to avoid this mistake and write it down. But don’t write down the sentence ‘I can’t…..’ use the ’I would like to be/know how to…’ sentence instead.

On your way to getting something useful from your mistake, it’s also good to create a plan which will help you avoid making the same mistake. Be as detailed as possible but keep in mind that you may need to change something in your plan in the future. How to do it even better? Think about how to make it harder for you to mess up again. Be creative and invent preventive measures. What would keep you from failure? Take some time to think about it. You can read more about it in Amy Morin’s article.

Stay present

Ask yourself the following question: Is there anything you can do to fix it or make the situation better? If the answer is ‘no’, it’s time to go on. After making mistakes people often stay in the past. Josh Ocampo’s article advises everyone in this situation to focus on the present moment and live in it. Find another problem to solve and keep yourself occupied. Do some exercise, cook, read a book. A very helpful tool to stay in the present moment is meditation.

I hope you find these tips useful. If you would like to dig deep and know more about the topic, I recommend you to add some amazing pieces to your bookshelf! For example, Tim Harford’s book Adapt:Why Success Always Starts with Failure is a great choice. Another inspiring book is How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life by Scott Adams.

If you’re not a bookworm you can always watch TED talks about people who made mistakes because sometimes the best way to get relief after making a mistake is to have proof you’re not the only one.

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