So I was just wondering, how do you deal when you make a mistake, or do something you regret? Does this ever happen to you? I can’t figure out if I’m just making more mistakes lately, or if I’m having a harder time forgiving myself for them?
Before I attempt to answer our friend’s very valid question, please allow me to share some of my most epic mistakes.
2) Allowing a five year relationship to go on for about two years too long.
3) Not proofing $1,300 worth of product before I sent it to the printer.
4) Not tying down a mattress I was hauling in the back of a pickup (it blew out of the back in the middle of the Lake Street bridge. During rush hour.)
5) Frequently wearing red fleece overalls in high school. Yes.
How to get over your mistakes in five not-particularly-easy steps
Step 1: Be honest about what actually caused these mistakes
Step 2: Think about how you can prevent this from happening again
Asking a friend to proofread
Not writing after you’ve had three lattes (not that I would know anything about that)
Knowing and liking yourself before you start dating someone
Figuring out what you’re looking for
Not dating people who don’t fit what you’re looking for
Learning how to fight fair
Step 3: View the results of your mistakes from an objective standpoint
As morbid as it sounds, the gig’s not up till you’re in the ground. One mistakes does not need to beget another. You don't need to be perfect, you just need to be slightly smarter than last time. Click To Tweet
Step 4: Think about how you can correct your mistakes
Step 5: Realize that regret is deeply, deeply useless
Now, there’s nothing wrong with acknowledging that maybe, if you could do it again, you wouldn’t incur $75,000 worth of debt for an M.A. in Underwater Basket Weaving. But there’s a difference between shrugging and saying “Ah, well. Ya live, ya learn.” and tormenting yourself every time you make a loan payment.
Regretting your life’s choices serves no one. It’s completely pointless and, as all those Pinterest images wisely state “Don’t look back. You’re not going that way.”And if you’re still hung up on past mistakes? Use the ol’ grand canyon trick.
Picture that the Grand Canyon is your life–your past, present and future. Start envisioning the various parts of your life within the canyon: Over there is the day you were born, your third-grade choir performance, your job as a babysitter. Picture your present: There’s your apartment, your friends, your mom, the book you’re reading right now. Picture your future: There’s your next vacation, the love of your life, your future children, the Top Chef finale. 🙂
Picture the enormous Grand Canyon and drop your worry into it. Whatever you’re worrying about–your cranky boss, your dating life, a salty comment from a friend–will be barely visible. “See how tiny it looks?” she says. Suddenly your problem will seem much, much smaller in comparison to the grand course of your huge, rich, long life.
Do you get hung up on past mistakes? If you’ve gotten past them – how’d you do that? Tell us in the comments so we can learn from you!