How to forgive yourself for making mistakes

During the weekly call of the prep program for my upcoming Your Best Year Ever Program, one of the students of...

During the weekly call of the prep program for my upcoming Your Best Year Ever Program, one of the students of the program had an important question about mistakes.

We were tackling the subject of self-love and how important it is to remain your own best friend and to be caring for yourself, especially when you are working towards your goals. And that made her think of how terrible she feels when she makes mistakes, and how hard it is for her to forgive herself for them, let alone love herself through them.

I feel that this is such a widespread issue, and one surrounded by a lot of shame, so that I need to write about it, and provide you with the perspective that I gave her. I believe we don’t talk about our mistakes nearly enough. And when we do, we always do so in a very negative way. But who can blame us?

We’ve been thought to feel ashamed for our mistakes and to feel bad for making them. As if there’s a state in which we could exist that would be mistake-free.

But feeling bad for making mistakes is nothing more than another illusory state our society has thought up for us to aspire to: like being a size zero, or being able to have both a perfect career and a perfect family with perfect kids, and be happy all the time about it, too… or like, in this case, living a totally mistake-free existence. It’s just not possible.

But just because perfection isn’t possible doesn’t mean we have to dread our mistakes or feel ashamed of them. Not always. Making mistakes can be a good thing sometimes, and a necessary step towards new skills, or new knowledge, or even new perspectives about things. And even when the mistakes have rather negative consequences, like losing a significant amount of money due to a bad business decision or hurting other people because of something that we did, there usually not as bad as we make them out to be.

So, here are a few things to consider when you’re beating yourself up about a mistake you made.

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Ask yourself, what’s the worst that could happen? Very often, we play catastrophe scenarios in our heads when we’ve made a mistake. What is everyone going to think about us? How are we going to survive it? These are just a few of the things that our inner critic loves to throw at us when we’ve made a mistake. And that’s why it’s so important to stop for a minute and take a breather. And ask yourself, what’s the worst that could happen? In most cases, you’ll realize that what your inner critic is telling you comes straight out of a sci-fi movie, and that the consequences of your mistake are really not what you make them out to be.

People really don’t think about you that much. Our inner critic really loves to be in the spotlight. That is why she makes us believe that other people are always talking and thinking about us. Truth be told, they aren’t. They have their own lives, their own problems, and most certainly their own mistakes to deal with before they have time to think about us. Remember this when you think the world is going to end and someone is never going to forgive you for what you did. Chances are, they’ve already almost forgotten about it.

Making mistakes mean you are in action. I love to tell my clients to cheer for their mistakes, because those mistakes are a living proof that my clients are in action. And I’ll take action over inaction every single day. Try to use mistakes as a positive reminder of you working towards something, and trying to achieve things. You’ll feel better about them instantly, I promise.

Making mistakes simply means you’re human. Making mistakes doesn’t only mean you’re in action; it also means you’re human. And how beautiful is that? The human experience has many colors and shades, and making mistakes is part of that. It’s a reminder that life is fragile, that goals are worth pursuing, and that the journey you’re on means something to you.

By embracing your mistakes as a part of who you are, you’ll be able to deal with them much better, forgive yourself for making them, and love yourself through them. Because mistakes are not just something to avoid.

Of course, we hope we won’t make many and that, if we do, the consequences will be limited. But making mistakes is part of the game of life and business, and if you’re not making any, that means you’re not playing. It’s just like with the omelet; don’t be afraid to break some eggs.

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