Article

So, you made a mistake. Now what?

Mistakes are inevitable, at least that’s what everyone says. But I never quite forgave myself for committing them. I have always been too careful not to break that mug, not to spill the water, I always tried to study well-tried to beat procrastination, never miss a deadline and always tried to drive carefully.

Since things don’t always go the way you want, you end up making mistakes. And even though everyone says that you should learn to praise them, learn from them to move a step ahead – I never heard that portion of the talk.

If I make a mistake my first body response is – to come to a halt. Pause for a moment, for a fraction of a second, to find what have I don and then I panic, adrenaline rushes through every part of my body and I start running around, bombarded with thoughts; “Why did I do that? Why am I so clumsy? What on the earth was I doing?”

I am scared of making mistakes. They seem like bumps in the road and I have always wished for smooth journeys. Such halts create hindrance in my works. I sense a feeling of my efforts going in vain.

A few days ago I was alone in my room. I spent the whole morning thinking about small, big and all kinds of mistakes I have committed. I was overthinking, of course, even though I had lots of works to do and things to study, still one by one I was looking at the box full of my mistakes. I was frustrated and I was cursing myself for being so stupid. The whole day passed and I ended up doing nothing; neither did I do any of my works nor I was able to break the chain of my thoughts.

Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

A. Acknowledgment

In the evening after dinner, I was strolling in the balcony and I was so frustrated with myself that I clenched my jaw and fists so tightly that I could feel my nails digging in my palms. I was tired, tired of my judgments, my clumsiness and mostly my regrets. I didn’t want to feel this pit of regret ever again therefore I learned, actually I am still learning to praise my mistakes.


The very first step I took was to sit down and breathe in the fresh air. I was already overthinking about a lot of things but this time it was different. I decided to reconsider all the events that have taken place in my life and give a good, clear and focused look on my actions. I decided to go through my mistakes one by one. I took one mistake out of the box and started evaluating it.

It was something I had done a few months ago and it was left unresolved. I thought I was right and did the right things but my behavior actually hurt a person. The person was and is still important to me. I simply said that I don’t care but deep down I knew I was wrong.

B. I tried to learn the lesson.

That night, in the balcony I told myself that ‘I was wrong’. I finally acknowledged what I did and rewind those series of events. After saying those words ‘I was wrong’ I was still breathing! No, my ego didn’t get hurt. My heart was still beating normally and I was still on the ground, safe and sound.

Then, I thought ‘I am alright, I can handle this’. I looked at the mistake again. Hmm…I was wrong but now what? Where shall I keep this ball of mistake? Back inside the box among all others that were never resolved? No, It will be as heavy as it was before or even maybe more.

I thought, ‘What can I learn from my bad behavior? The other person was equally responsible’. But I asked myself, ‘you didn’t like your behavior and what you do when you don’t like something?…you change it’.

I smiled, not because I knew I was doing something right but because I started to think from a different perspective. I was not lingering on a dead end anymore. It moved and I started to think about various things I should do to resolve this mistake and avoid them in the future.

C. I let it go.

I called that person and apologized. It wasn’t that hard as I contemplated because the person on the other line was mature and understood me. Although on the other hand, I was ready to do necessary things to amend the relationship and makeup to what I had done, otherwise.

I started to feel good and also had a quality conversation with that person. As we talked more and more, I started to feel a weight going off my shoulders and noticed the ball of mistake vanishing. I smiled and let it go because it was the right thing to do. I somehow realized I cannot throw it inside the box again and carry the weight of it forever.

I learned how to deal with this mess, salvation perhaps. From that day onwards, I have been opening the box and repeating the process. It’s not easy as it sounds but worth doing. I’m still in the process, I’m still solving them.

In a nutshell, you should try to sit down for a while and self evaluate. A third person’s perspective does wonder in many ways. You are able to see things differently and rewind the events with a fresh set of eyes. You start to think what were the things that went wrong and you figure out what to do next.

Do not feed your ego, it just prolongs the suffering and you are hung on a dead end and overthinking about everything all the time. It also brings along its buddies; the regret and the guilt. Hence, do not panic, just give yourself time, analyze, observe and doors are opened to make the right choices again. Eventually, everything falls into the place and you too will settle down.

Now I want to ask you, what do you do when you make mistakes?

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