How often do you find yourself dwelling on things you did or said in the past feeling embarrassed or annoyed with yourself? Pause for a moment at think about it….
Kicking yourself after the event if you messed up is only natural, because you know that you should have known better than to do what you did. If, however, you keep kicking yourself for the same “offence”, you become your own enemy making you feel miserable.
A bit of self-critique is fine. Being over critical of yourself will eventually prevent you from doing and saying things for fear of getting it wrong.
Let’s face it, we all get it wrong once in a while. We make the wrong decision or perhaps say something for which we have to apologise to another person. Whilst this is not nice, there is no reason to dwell on it. Dwelling on past mistakes does not make them go away. Nor does dwelling on other people’s past mistakes make them go away even if you were inconvenienced by them.
The past is valuable. Learn from your mistakes. Learn from the mistakes of others. Then let it go.
Easier said than done? It depends on your focus. When something bad happens to you, see that as a chance to learn something you didn't know. When another person makes a mistake, see that as an opportunity to be kind, forgiving, and understanding.
The past is just training; it doesn't define you. Think about what went wrong, but only in terms of how you will make sure that, next time, you and the people around you will know how to make sure it goes right.
From the moment we wake up in the morning until we fall asleep at night we are bombarded with opportunities for making mistakes or saying the wrong thing. So, if you think back on your day, how well did you do? I’m sure you handled most things well.
I often hear people say that they keep making the same mistakes and consequently feel rather stupid. As a student I sometimes kept making the same mistake until I finally grasped the concept I was getting wrong. This was just a case of try and try again until it works. In life it is a little more difficult with repeat mistakes. Usually something triggers the behaviour you’d rather you did not display, yet it keeps happening. In that case, it often helps to talk such situations through with another person and create a coping strategy.
If you have tried changing things and it still does not work, perhaps you would benefit from coaching and getting completely neutral support to help you move on. Give me a ring or drop me an email if you would like to discuss if coaching would be right for you.
In the meantime, try to just fix one mistake at a time and see how much better you feel knowing you will not make that mistake again.