If you are really struggling with feeling bad about something, set aside those feelings of guilt or remorse for just one moment and listen…
There is one simple truth about humans that is often forgotten–humans are not infallible. Everybody makes mistakes.
The majority of us have made some terrible mistakes. Some mistakes may have cost us a marriage, a job, a close relationship, or even a mistake that resulted in prison time or the loss of a loved one’s life…
Some mistakes we have made have been so horrific, it may feel like it will take a couple of years before we are able to look ourselves in the mirror again. Some of us have made mistakes so bad that we would not even confess them on our death bed.
It is noble to strive for pure perfection and upholding commendable virtues, but sometimes we are just going to mess up…and that will be okay.
“Okay? What Do you mean things will be okay??”
I mean that life goes on. Mistakes are temporary. It will eventually subside. The next day will start again. It may feel like the world is ending or all is lost but trust me, life goes on.
Here are my tips to help you let go, forgive yourself and move forward.
1. Let Yourself Feel Down (but not too much)
When you make a mistake in life, and you feel bad, it is a signal for you to not make that mistake again. I am a big proponent of feeling the negative emotions to the fullest to give yourself the gift of learning from that mistake. Allow yourself to sulk and be sad.
Mope around and feel disheartened with yourself. Don’t fight your feelings. Acknowledge they exist. “I feel really sad. I feel embarrassed. I feel clumsy.” That is okay. You will want to avoid labeling yourself. Stop yourself from calling yourself a failure, a mess up, or a rotten person. Watch your thinking.
When feeling your negative emotions, here is a fine line, however. You do not want to get so far deep into the sulking to where you become especially depressed. You can fall into the trap of that emotion lingering for a long time. Give yourself some time to feel the emotions, don’t let them consume you, and then let it go.
How do you do that? I will get into that but the first step is you need to feel the emotion so you can learn from your mistake.
2. Start to Take Better Care of Yourself
When you make a horrific mistake, you may feel like a miserable failure. Maybe you cannot even look yourself in the mirror without having a visceral hatred towards yourself or screaming out four letter words.
The next step to move forward is to take care of yourself. Start to exercise, eat healthy meals, groom yourself, don’t neglect food, drink plenty of water, meditate and just treat yourself kindly. I know it will be difficult considering all the disdain you feel towards yourself, but trust me, take care of yourself and you will start to feel better.
Taking care of yourself includes commitment. If you make a promise to yourself, keep it. Start making small promises to yourself like attending the gym later today, and then do it. It is time to rebuild trust and the relationship with yourself.
By taking care of yourself doing the opposite of how you feel, the dissonance created will eventually pull you closer to feeling better.
3. Stop Making the Mistake
Stop making the mistake. If you really want to move forward, the best thing for you do is to stop making the mistake. I have no idea what mistake you made, how serious it was, or what have you… Stop making the mistake.
Perhaps you recently got a DUI. Look into joining a alcoholic recovery program, hire a DUI attorney, and stop drinking while you drive – today. Yes, you will have to live with the consequences of a DUI. It is a tough lesson to learn but you will feel even worse about yourself if you fall into the same hole again.
Maybe you are doing a lot of drugs or cheating on your significant other. Stop doing the drugs, and attend a drug recovery program. If you cheated on your significant other, the cheating stops today. You are only going to hurt yourself more by continuously making the mistake. You have the ability to stop making the mistake this instant. How can you say you regret making the mistake if you are still making the same mistake over and over again?
Promise yourself to stop making the same mistake now.
4. Get Out
In order to move forward, you will have to get your mind off of thinking about your mistake all of the time. Stop thinking about the mistake you made by going out and seeing how you can help others.
It is a win/win for you because not only will it get you out of your head, you will feel better about yourself. How can you feel so bad about yourself if you are helping all the people around you. If you find yourself falling down the rabbit hole of over-thinking about the mistake, pull out your phone, call a close friend and ask how you can be of service to him or her.
Time to Move Forward
In short, you may have messed up but it is in the past now. What matters now, is this moment moving forward. Everybody makes mistakes. We are not defined by the mistakes we made in the past. It is how we pick ourselves up from this moment on that defines us.
Feel the emotions, let them go, take care of yourself, stop making the mistake, and get out of your head and help others.
With time, you will forgive yourself and move on.
Brandon Leuangpaseuth is a writer from San Diego, CA that helps various criminal defense attorneys across the country with their public relations. You can connect with him on LinkedIn @bleuangpaseuth.
Photo by Andrea Reiman on Unsplash
The opinions and views expressed in this guest blog do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in this article or linked to herein.
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