When you mess up, it can be difficult to forgive yourself. It doesn’t matter if the screwup is big or small. Dwelling on self-blame, however, can hold you back from learning from your mistakes. Mistakes are the best way to learn. It’s the perfect opportunity to develop into something better and may be the key to your future success. You need to bounce back.
A mistake is an error in judgment, misunderstanding, or misguided action. It is not about intentions. It’s about a judgement call that occurs because you didn’t know better. A mistake is different for everybody since every person has a different reference point.
Remember you’re only human. Most likely, your mistake has been made thousands of times by others before you. You are not alone. Here are thoughts about how to be kind and forgive yourself.
- Talk to yourself kindly. Don’t self abuse with put downs. You’re not letting yourself off the hook. Instead you’re using encouragement to move forward.
- All life experiences, good and bad, hold information to help us improve with our intentions. Look at your mistake curiously and think about what made you act this way. Think about what you might do differently next time. You can try again.
- Always acknowledge your mistake. This goes a long way. Don’t cover it up or excuse yourself. If you need to apologize, do so. Be courageous and be honest.
- A recent study in the journal “Emotion” found that those who practice observing their own thoughts and feelings, without judgement, are more likely to forgive others for pain they caused.
Know that you cannot avoid mistakes. You can’t know your future. But you can learn from your past experiences and understand your shortcomings and boundaries. These positive outcomes will change your outlook and increase your self-esteem and help you to grow and improve yourself.