How to Forgive Yourself After Making Mistakes in Life
Slip-ups can be minor, or they can have a dramatic impact on the trajectory of your life. Whether you mishandled a meeting at work or were pulled over for speeding, errors can sting. But, making mistakes in life is natural. It’s how you view these flaws and handle them afterward that determines your growth.
In school, the math problems you missed weren’t the end of your experience with the subject — they were the guidelines for improving your understanding. Each error on your paper marked the areas you needed to grow. In the same way, making mistakes in life points out how you can progress.
Even after everyone else has forgiven you for making mistakes in life, you can still retain guilt. But holding a grudge against yourself can keep you from working past your blunder. Overcoming mistakes and personally forgiving yourself is a challenge, but you can follow these five tips to help you handle failure.
1. Recognize Your Shortcomings and Strengths
To forgive yourself, you can’t ignore your faults and push them aside. Suppressing your failure can cause you to harbor deep pain. Bring the situation into the open to directly face it. If you messed up, take the responsibility of your actions and candidly recognize what you’ve done.
Balance this reality with a broader picture. What was your most recent success? How have you changed for the better lately? A full understanding should factor in not just your weaknesses but your strengths, too. Taking into account the good and bad can lead to the first signs of healing.
2. Fight Defeating Thoughts
In a study where researchers asked participants to recall a guilt-inducing memory, people felt physically weighed down by these past circumstances. Your thoughts carry immense power over you, creating strong responses to wrongdoings. Resist the impulse to let overwhelming feelings win.
Identify what triggers your guilt to wade through unconstructive thoughts. While some mistakes are your fault, others aren’t and shouldn’t elicit guilt. Reign in your perspective to reach a healthy mindset.
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3. Don’t Let It Become Your Identity
Although moments of failure can shape you, they don’t have to define who you are. When an oversight seems to consume you, you’re placing your worth on something that’s unsteady. Find your identity in secure places to develop a reliable foundation.
Also, you can discover important aspects of yourself through your errors. Understanding how you deal with accidents can give you insight and produce better self-awareness.
4. Use Mistakes as Fuel
What you’ve gone through teaches you crucial lessons. Without mistakes to propel you forward, you can’t put your gained knowledge into practice. Life experience includes failure and success, which leads you to profitable learning.
For example, after you’ve seen the results of unproductive behavior, you can prioritize what matters. Maybe you usually get insignificant projects out of the way first at work, but you realize this is hurting your workflow. Adjust in the future to incorporate what you’ve learned from your mistake.
5. Make Progress a Priority
The frustration that’s keeping you from forgiving yourself may not vanish after a day, but the gradual process of accepting your past and looking to the future is worthwhile. Perfection isn’t a realistic expectation, so provide yourself with room to grow.
Allow yourself time and pursue patience with yourself. Your journey of overcoming mistakes is for the long haul. Go at your own pace with progress as the end goal.
Confidently Move Forward After Setbacks
When slip-ups initiate regret, it’s easy to be hard on yourself. But, you can recover from making mistakes in life with intentional reflection. Focus on forgiving yourself to regain hope, and allow your errors to inform your future decisions.
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Also published on Medium.