Yesterday, you had a major argument with your partner. You both said some things you wish you hadn’t. You wish that you had just thought before you acted out in such a horrible way. You know that once something is said, it cannot be taken back. You wish you could take it back, but the damage has already been done.
The day before, you made a mistake at work. It was hard for you to admit ( it’s hard for all of us to admit to any mistake), but you stood on the red carpet and “please explain(ed)”. You felt terrible and embarrassed. You could only imagine what your colleagues now think of you. You wish you had just checked the file before you sent the darn thing off.
We all make mistakes. We all say terrible things in the heat of the moment. We all mess up occasionally at work or in life. It doesn’t mean that we are bad people, it just means that we are all Human.
I think the one thing that I learnt over the last year, is that we forget this important fact – the fact that we are human and that it is okay not to be perfect. Although our lives would be so much happier if we remembered it, for some or other reason, we like expecting ourselves to be something we would never be. And we think that by carrying around the guilt or embarrassment or shame or whatever negative feelings you have because we didn’t act in a “perfect” manner, it will make things better.Yes, we must acknowledge that we made a mistake or that we did something we are not proud of, but we do not have to beat ourselves up about it. What is important is that we learn the lesson the experience brought us and move on.
Start the next day with a clean slate.
Apologise if you must – and then move on. Fix the file and make sure you check the next one before you hit the send button – and then move on.
Then start the next day with a clean slate.
Mistakes are not meant to degrade us, but rather to teach us. That’s why there is a lovely saying: ” There are no mistakes, just lessons”.
Guilt is a terrible emotion. It feels like a you are carting around a ton of bricks. Guilt makes us feel like we don’t deserve anything good in life because of the mistake we made. It makes us doubt ourselves as good people. And the worst thing about guilt, is that it cannot erase what has been done. It doesn’t make the situation any better. In fact, it makes it a lot worse. Fear (another one of may favourite negative feelings) often follows very closely on Guilt’s heels. And Fear makes us second guess our decisions going forward. It makes us doubt our ability to do things right. It scares us into not trying again because of what might happen.
The truth is – everyone makes mistakes. Even some of the most successful business people in the world, built their successes on their mistakes. If they hadn’t made them, they would not have learnt what they needed to do better or what not to do next time. They would not have learnt what they were supposed to. Mistakes or Lessons as I would rather prefer to call them, are all part of the journey of Life. It’s a hard pill to swallow ( especially in the midst of our downfall), but it’s true. We don’t always get things right the first time. You have to crawl and fall several times, before you can walk. And the sooner you realise that you are holding yourself to this unrealistic expectation called “perfect”, the happier your life will be. You will stop punishing yourself. Mistakes are meant to change something about us, not break us down and by incorporating what it taught you, you are changed and will do better next time.
So start the next day with a clean slate. Acknowledge the mistake, but don’t spend too much time there. What is important to remember is the lesson. Let go of the guilt or whatever feelings you have that is keeping you from moving on. Let…it…go!
When you let go, you are free to try again, just this time you are a little wiser. Deciding to move on doesn’t mean that you are not sorry or that you don’t regret what happened. It just means that you choose to stop beating yourself up about it and you choose to forgive yourself for being human. You’ve learnt the lesson and now it’s time to move on.
Remember, we are all here on earth doing the best we can with the hand we are dealt and sometimes, we get it wrong…And it’s okay! Everyday is a gift, an opportunity to do things better, so why would you want to carry around yesterday’s baggage?
“Its like an artist with a clean slate. You just have to paint a new picture. And hopefully a better one.” – Brian Mollere