To err is human: deal with it

To err is human:  deal with it

Too often we dwell on the mistakes of our past. We want to be perfect, always succeeding and never failing.  Perfection is something we strive for, but it’s an unattainable goal.

Along our journey through life we are bound to make mistakes.  I myself have made many mistakes—too many to count—ranging from not a big deal to the epitome of stupid. I usually regret these mistakes, as many of them could easily have been avoided. I try not to over-think, worry and stress about my past, but it is something we all tend to do.

And of course there is regret. I find it so easy to focus all my energy into regret. It consumes my thoughts and feelings until my over-active mind is fighting a losing battle against insomnia. I can’t focus on what’s happening present-day and I’m pulled away from my regular routine.

Regret over mistakes can take over our lives.  But don’t mistakes make us human?  What is the point of regret? I constantly find myself tangled up in feelings of regret, but then I realize there’s no point in feeling miserable over something I can’t control or change. In this sense, regret is useless. It’s necessary to move on and let the past take care of the past.

Sometimes it’s not easy when friends or coworkers or peers bring up said mistakes, but I find a simple “That was then, this is now” approach really helps.  They’ll get it and eventually stop bugging you.  If they don’t, you might consider hanging out with a better group.  You want to surround yourself with people who build you up, not try to continue to tear you down.

This is why acceptance is key to overcoming regret. Yes, I made a mistake, yes it was very stupid but I accept it and in the process have learned something valuable about myself. The easiest way for me to overcome regret is to laugh at my mistakes. I know I don’t always make smart decisions and people will judge me after doing something especially stupid. But that’s okay because I can laugh at myself and move on. I accept my mistakes and will joke about it until it no longer becomes relevant.

Don’t wallow in grief and regret, because that won’t solve the problem. Devise a solution and deal with the consequences. Mistakes happen to the best of us, but dealing with them is the more important thing; this is a better representation of who you are than the mistake itself.  Mistakes and regret are a part of life; it’s how you deal with failure that defines you and eventually becomes your success.