You know the cliche phrase, "we're all human, we all make mistakes?"
There's a reason why it's constantly repeated.
We hear it, and we know it, but many of us don't always fully believe it. We are happy to apply this to others, but we don't apply it to ourselves!
It's easy to say that to someone who's made a mistake.
It's easy to look at them, not judge them for their mistake and say, "hey, we all make mistakes."
Why then, are we so hard on ourselves? Why don't we apply this thought process to ourselves?
Sometimes, we simply feel bad and the guilt starts to overwhelm us and we get stuck swimming in it.
Other times, we judge ourselves and this leads to a whole host of thought patterns that don't serve us and can be hard to get out of.
Mental health struggles can also perpetuate these tendencies to beat ourselves up.
But, these things are natural, of course!
It's okay if you judge yourself, shame yourself and guilt yourself... don't beat yourself up about that too!
Just recognize the signs and learn to work through it in a more healthy way.
If you mess up, you don't have to make yourself pay for it forever.
Here are the steps I take to work through my mistakes...
1. I make amends and apologize asap. Half the battle of being a good person, is realizing when you've messed up. Admit your faults, and commit to working on your behavior. You can only change if you have self-awareness and are willing to work through it.
2. Remember that you are not perfect, no one is.
3. Remember that this is not the end of the world.
4. Make your peace with it. Accept yourself, flaws and all, and move forward. Do not dwell on it. Put your energy and time towards bettering yourself so you can be your best for yourself and others around you!
5. Do the work. If you are making mistakes that are hurting people or causing trouble at work, etc, then learn from them. Do your best to ensure the chances of you making the same mistake are as low as possible. But, accept that mistakes may still happen. Don't forget that you are human, so don't do the work assuming you will be able to become perfect.
Still having a hard time?
If you can't seem to get out of the rut and stop beating yourself up, write about WHY you are still beating you up. Just dump it all out on paper, or a Google doc, or wherever.
What thoughts do you see when you review this that are maybe not 100% guaranteed, true facts? Be careful here. Sometimes thoughts SEEM true... but they really aren't.
An example would be if you catch yourself writing something like, "I'm terrible." or "I was such an idiot."
Other thoughts we regard as true facts are hidden assumptions we make about others in the process. If you make a mistake at work and your boss is upset about it, you might think, "oh my gosh, they hate me for this."
🚨These are NOT facts, and you shouldn't treat them as such!
You are NOT your mistakes.
If you made one, that does not automatically mean you are an idiot, or terrible, and your boss might be upset that the mistake happened and upset about fixing it, but that does NOT equate to them hating you. Chances are, if you were to ask them, they would tell you they were frustrated with you, but it's okay, just try not to do it again.
That said, if someone tells you that you are terrible, or that they hate you, please consider whether this is a good relationship to have OR consider the severity of your mistake. Our emotions as humans have different strength at different times. If you JUST found out your spouse cheated, you might feel like you hate them. But, after a month, a day, a week... who knows, you may not feel this way. Know that humans say things in haste sometimes, we change our minds, nothing is forever.
Part of our own self-growth journey should always include giving others space to feel their own emotions, just like we want them to give us this space. Sure, if someone were to say they hate you, it would hurt. But this does not mean it's the end of the world, that you can't survive it, or that it's true.
You had an imperfect human moment, and you are not defined by it!
So try to check in with your thoughts and find ways to reframe those that may not be true.
Remind yourself that EVERYONE messes up sometimes.
Think of times others have messed up and you didn't mind so much, especially after they said sorry.
The only thing you have control over is you, how you respond to your own thoughts about your mistakes, and how you change for the future.
You are not your mistakes.