What do you do when you make a mistake?
Are you like many people who beat themselves up when they commit an error or make an unwise decision?
Does your inner critic chastise you, pointing out other foibles that you may have committed?
The key to good mental health and well-being is to be able to learn from our mistakes and then let it go. As humans, we are error prone and we will continue to make mistakes for as long as we remain conscious and alive.
Even airplanes are off course a significant percentage of the time and must be corrected by the pilot.
The key to our well-being is to refrain from focusing on what we did or did not do, but focus on what we should glean from the mistake and what can be done to correct it.
The following are suggestions for learning and letting go.
- When you make a mistake, take responsibility for being human and seek corrective action.
- Focus on what is to be learned from the situation. If it is a matter of carelessness, decide to change future practices and be more attentive to what you are doing.
- When the critical inner mind starts that old tape of “how dumb that was, what an idiot you are” or other such counter-productive self-talk, in your mind (or out loud, if you can do so) yell “STOP IT!” to turn off that tape. If you see yourself in that negative light, mimic your television viewing habits, merely change the channel to a more positive one.
- If you have or could have harmed someone with your mistake, own up to it, make amends by apologizing, learn the lesson, commit to not repeating it, and then let it go.
- If you feel the need to continue to play that old tape, ask yourself what need is getting met by engaging in this negative self-talk, and then ask yourself why you have a need to “beat yourself up.” Replace that need with the desire to be kind to yourself.
- Gain an understanding that the emotional energy spent on being unkind to yourself could be better spent finding a solution to any problem that was created by our mistake.
Often monkeys are captured by the “yam in a jar technique.” People who wish to capture them do so with the knowledge that once the monkey sticks its hand in the jar to retrieve the yam, it will not let go.
The neck of the jar is sufficiently narrow so that the monkey’s empty hand can enter it, but its full hand cannot exit the jar. The monkey is effectively trapped and must suffer the consequences when it stubbornly refuses to let go.
As humans, we have sufficient intellect to recognize that we continue to trap ourselves when we refuse to let go. We have control over the choices that we make. Choose to let go of the yam!
Affirmation for the Week:
“I learn from my mistakes and then let go.”
Have a living, learning, and letting go week!
Mary “Motivator” Rau-Foster