Be Kind, Rewind: Learning From Mistakes

“Forget it enough to get over it, remember it enough so it doesn’t happen again.” -unknown

Whenever I’m feeling guilt or regret, the most common advice I get is “don’t dwell on it,” or “it’s in the past so just stop thinking about it.” If only it were that easy. But the truth is, until I am 100% okay with something, thoughts will ping around in my mind on a constant loop. I keep replaying the situation, wondering what I could have done differently.

Once I realized there was no way I could will my mind to stop with the instant replay, I knew I needed to find a better way to cope. If I was going to keep thinking about it, I wasn’t going to just criticize myself–I would make it constructive.

So this is what I do: I write down everything that I am thinking and brainstorm what may have gone wrong and how I could prevent it next time. Sometimes I just self reflect, other times I’ll do a little research to get a better perspective.

Example

What happened: Argued with my mom

Why did it happen: I was feeling anxious and stressed. Because of that, I wasn’t fully listening to her and we had a misunderstanding. I was already feeling on edge, so things escalated and I said some not-so-nice things.

How it makes me feel: I know it was my fault for not paying attention. I wasn’t really angry with her–I was stressed about other things and let it spill over into our conversation. I want to apologize for hurting her feelings.

What I can do next time: I know anxiety will probably always play a big role in my life, but I don’t want it to affect the way I treat others. I can use certain techniques (journaling, exercising, to-do lists) to manage my nerves and stay present so when I’m having a conversation with my mom, I can give her my full attention. If I can’t help feeling anxious, I’ll let her know what is going on so she doesn’t take it personally.

View it as a learning opportunity. You’re not perfect, so don’t beat yourself up. The fact that you care so much about what happened is a good sign. You’re concerned and you want to improve–just focus on how you could do better next time. Hopefully you’ll reach a point where you accept your mistake, learn the lesson and move on.

The Problem With Fine

Does anybody else spend hours watching TED talks? I’d love to attend a live talk, but unfortunately tickets are out of my price range. Thankfully, they are recorded and uploaded to YouTube where we can watch them for free. For those of you that don’t know, Ted talks are events that feature experts from a wide range of fields who present their research, ideas, and dreams.

One of the most recent talks I stumbled upon was “How to stop screwing yourself over” by Mel Robbins. She says that one of our biggest problems is saying that we are fine—to others and to ourselves—because it is often a lie.

“Tell the truth…The bigger issue with fine is that you say it to yourself. That thing that you want, I guarantee you, you’ve convinced yourself that you’re fine not having it. That’s why you’re not pushing yourself.”

Are there things that you want to have or improve upon that seem too hard or daunting to go after? Maybe it is a job, a relationship, or a big lifestyle change. When the going gets rough, do you tell yourself that you are fine with your current situation? Fine is a word that we use when we scared of failing. I’ve been afraid to go after certain opportunities and instead of admitting that I don’t want to try, I’ve told myself that I’m happy with what I’ve got, even though I’m not. Just an unhealthy dose of self-deception! Don’t self-sabotage. Be honest with yourself about what you want, recognize that you are worthy of having it, capable to achieving it, and go for it.

Watch the talk here: