Table of contents:

How to forgive yourself for mistakes and move on
How to forgive yourself for mistakes and move on

Learn to distinguish between good and bad mistakes and turn regret into invaluable lessons.

How to forgive yourself for mistakes and move on
How to forgive yourself for mistakes and move on

None of us can change the past, no matter how much we want to. Therefore, we learn to live with obsessive thoughts "I wonder what it would be if …" and try to get used to the constant regret that accompanies our every mistake.

To cope with such an influx of emotions will help the approach of psychologists Shelley Carson and Ellen Langer, who divide mistakes into "good" and "bad". They differ only in our reaction - we learn lessons from the “good” ones, and we are desperately ashamed of the “bad” ones.

To identify your "bad" mistakes, complete one simple task - continue with the phrase "I am sorry that …". This will tell you what regrets to work with. And to turn “bad” mistakes into “good” ones, use five basic strategies.

1. Accept joys and difficulties equally

To change the perception of events that occur in our life, you need to look into yourself. This is where attention management techniques come in handy.

Concentrate on your breathing, or try any other meditation practice you like. Listen to your thoughts and feelings, accept what is happening in your life and consider the possible scenarios. Yes, you cannot change the past, but you can choose the future.

2. Be kind to yourself

Author of the book “Self-compassion. On the power of compassion and kindness to oneself”Christine Neff is sure that it is self-compassion that helps to accept oneself. She suggests trying a practice that combines inner strength and self-love.

To do this, ask yourself two important questions:

  1. How can I show self-compassion in reviewing my mistakes?
  2. How to give yourself an opportunity to think about the current situation and draw the necessary lessons from it?

The answers will help you figure out how to work through past mistakes without blaming yourself.

3. Study yourself

To do this, try asking yourself leading questions:

  • What can this experience teach me?
  • If I were in this situation again, what would I do differently? How would you change yourself?
  • What do I need to learn to make the right decision next time?
  • What advice would I give to a person in the same situation?
  • What thoughts, habits, or personality traits do I need to work on to avoid making this mistake again?

4. Determine what you can and cannot change

Not all mistakes can be corrected. Sometimes the worst has already happened, and the only thing you can do is come to terms. Ask yourself if you can make a difference. Just be honest with yourself: is what happened just one embarrassing mistake or a chain of reckless decisions?

“We can't choose the cards we get, but we can choose how we play them,” notes Carnegie Mellon University professor Randy Pausch.

If your mistake touches another person, try not just to apologize, but to listen to him. After that, you can share your thoughts and tell what this situation has taught you and what you plan to do next.

Randy Pausch outlined three important parts that any apology should consist of:

  1. A mention of what you did wrong.
  2. Apologies for causing pain.
  3. The question is what can be done to remedy the situation.

5. Motivate yourself

Find an inspirational phrase that will help you move on through tough times. You can repeat it to yourself or make a screensaver on your phone - as long as it makes you feel better.

For believers, and perhaps not only for them, the prayer of the German theologian Karl Etinger is suitable: “Lord, give me peace of mind to accept what I cannot change, give me the courage to change what I can change, and give me the wisdom to distinguish one from another."