If you’ve ever watched “Sliding Doors” you’re familiar with the idea that choices we might regret at first can turn out to be blessings in disguise. It’s an optimistic way to go through life. Instead of viewing something as a mistake, think of it as an opportunity for personal growth.
But is that outlook really all it’s cracked up to be? Are we giving ourselves too much leeway — unwilling to admit when we’ve actually experienced failure? Some instances suggest otherwise. Here are a few of the ways you can improve your situation, even when things look grim.
Realize Life is a Learning Experience
Sometimes we make mistakes because we don’t know any better. It’s important in these situations to not be too hard on yourself. It’s also essential to make note of the lesson you can take away from the experience.
Very few of the things we do in life are done only once, so you’ll probably get the chance to put that wisdom to good use. Instead of approaching new situations afraid to fail, look at them as opportunities to grow, no matter what happens.
Forgive and Forget
Mental health professionals will tell you that everyone experiences anxiety — it’s how we cope with it that can become troublesome. When you have a difficult experience, it might cause you to experience anger towards another person or towards yourself.
The sooner you can acknowledge that feeling and move on, the less you will notice a feeling of anxiety around the experience. By choosing to not continuously re-live an experience, you’ll feel better internally and give others a chance to rebuild your relationship.
Recognize a Habit
Sometimes when you think you’ve made a terrible mistake out of nowhere, there are actually factors contributing to your behavior which you don’t recognize on the surface. While it might be painful initially, a bad experience could be the spark it takes to make you recognize something that’s been bothering you for a long time.
This could be a habit that started out innocently but has developed into a problem. Or it might be something you never saw as an issue, but when placed in a different context, it suddenly becomes pronounced.
Learn to Admit When You’re Wrong
Some people think they’re infallible but the truth is, no one is. Even if you have a great track record, making a mistake can do you some good by rebuilding your hubris.
It’s okay to be wrong. However, when you’re wrong, you should accept it and save those around you the awkwardness of trying to convince you. Understanding this dynamic is part of becoming a socially mature person.
Get Motivated to Make a Change
Mental health is a complex subject. Many people struggle with issues they don’t even realize they have. Sometimes what you interpret as a grave mistake can be the motivator to seek help. No one can do it for you and every once in a while, we all need a little nudge to put us on the right path.
Learn to Practice Integrity
Some mistakes we make only affect us — those are convenient. But you’ve probably made a mistake before that has affected others and you have to take responsibility. You might need to communicate your mistake because others won’t realize until it’s too late.
This is another important social skill everyone needs to practice. Demonstrating that you understand what you did was wrong and are willing to let your friends know anyway will help restore their trust in you — and it will make you feel more confident in yourself.
So, you made a mistake. Life goes on. That is true regardless of whether or not you choose to be comfortable with your mistake, so isn’t it wiser to take the steps you need to feel better about it?
This doesn’t mean you should feel no responsibility. Not all mistakes are the same and life has harsh consequences sometimes. We all want to get it right as much as we can, but when things do go wrong, having the ability to handle the situation with grace can transform a negative experience into a positive.