People fail. They fall short of their goals. They betray people they love. In every possible way, they screw up, disappoint themselves, and others. To err is truly human.
So what happens next? Some people, when they fail, let it destroy them. They feel like broken people, horrible, unworthy of love. In short, they feel shame. Unfortunately, shame can be a trap. If you feel shame, you can’t really move on from your mistake, you essentially live in the moment of your failure.
What is another choice? Instead of letting your failure mean you are bad, not good enough, or unworthy; you can let it be your action that was not good enough. If it is not you but your action that was bad, all you have to do is change your actions. You move on, you learn that’s not a way you want to act.
With this change of perspective, your mistakes don’t make you bad, they make you better. Each error can be an opportunity, if you accept it and commit to changing your actions and yourself. This is a process that is very rewarding but often difficult and uncomfortable.
First, you must face that you did in fact screw up. This alone can be fantastically difficult as many of us have left over ideas from childhood that we have to be perfect. We can’t be. Remind yourself that all human beings make mistakes. It doesn’t mean you are bad, it simply means you are human.
Now, look at the specific action that you feel was a mistake. Decide what of your goals and values it fell short of, select an action you would rather you had done, and commit to acting differently if you get another chance. Additionally, if someone was harmed by your error, I’d also suggest committing to an action to make amends.
It is uncomfortable to make mistakes but if we were unable to, we would never learn, never grow. Our ability to screw up is a vital part of us. So next time you use this capability, face it, accept it, and use it to become a better you.