The old saying, “Everyone makes mistakes,” is true but it’s of little comfort when you’re in the thick of that sinking, yucky mess of wishing you had known better or taken a different path.
After I’ve messed up, I have a difficult time avoiding a world of regret and shame. So here are my tricks to get myself out of a negative spiral:
Ask myself: What did I learn? This question helps me move forward in my thinking. I imagine my future self faced with a similar scenario but, this time, she is wiser and more capable. It’s extremely comforting to know that this won’t happen again!
Tell myself: You did the very best you could. You’ll do better next time. Reflecting on the lessons I learned reveals my ignorance from before. Through this exercise, I can truly accept that I simply didn’t know any better. This puts me on a path to self-forgiveness.
Let myself: cry! Making mistakes can lead to some awful, humiliating feelings. I always feel better after I cry (or cry-vent to a close friend).
I hope these tips help you the next time you make a mistake. You certainly aren’t alone!