“Do not be embarrassed by your mistakes. Nothing can teach us better than an understanding of our mistakes. This is one of the most effective forms of self-education.”
Thomas Carlyle, 19th Century Philosopher
Some people seem to have a natural gift for dealing with mistakes and setbacks in life. No matter what happens, they bounce back quickly, eager to move on to whatever comes next. For others, recovering from mistakes is a struggle. They come down hard on themselves when they mess up even slightly, often leading to a downward spiral that can be hard to get out of.
If you tend to view your mistakes with shame or embarrassment, it's time to shift your mindset. Reframing these events as a learning opportunity is one of the most empowering things you do for yourself.
Resist the temptation to run, deny, or hide from your mistakes.
Human beings aren't perfect, which means mistakes are bound to happen, sometimes minor, sometimes quite significant. Inevitably, there will be times when you're tempted to run, deny, or hide from your mistakes. However, you can make a conscious decision not to give in to that temptation.
When you acknowledge and accept your mistakes, you have an opportunity to learn from them. This makes it much easier to get back on your feet, since your focus shifts from the mistake itself to extracting whatever you can from the experience. As a result, you don't just move on empty-handed, you take something valuable with you. You grow. You mature. You deepen your understanding. You gain insight and greater awareness.
Allow yourself to be changed for the better.
In short, you empower yourself as you allow yourself to be changed for the better. That's hardly something to be embarrassed by; it's something to celebrate!
Take some time to reflect on your own personality and tendencies. How do you usually react when you make a mistake in life?
Offer yourself some understanding and compassion.
Feeling badly when you've messed up is a normal reaction, as is feeling guilty when you've done something wrong. Facing up to reality, taking responsibility, and doing what you reasonably can to right a situation are all constructive behaviours. Drowning in guilt and shame is not constructive, and it's not healthy.
Be willing to offer yourself the same level of understanding and compassion you would afford someone else. And remember: you can make a conscious decision to let all those mistakes along the way shape you and prepare you for whatever lies ahead, if you'll allow yourself to learn from them.
Tips for achieving optimal wellness, inside and out.