Welp, you’ve done it now. You’ve messed up. Big time. You probably let someone you care about down in the process. Perhaps you’re a psychopath and that doesn’t bother you, but for the rest of us…it sucks. Then comes the advice. “You can’t cry over spilt milk. You can’t change the past. Use it as a learning experience.” While all of that is true, it doesn’t help. It doesn’t help the knot in your stomach or the sadness in your heart or the disappointment in your soul.
So what are you really going to do?
- Own up. There are few things worse than blame passing. This is your fault. I’m sure there are about 150 very good excuses as to why it happened, but none of them matter. No one is perfect and most reasonable human beings are aware of this. Stand up. Take responsibility and vow to never EVER do it again (and mean it).
- Do the time. Depending on the severity of your mistake, there may be some penance involved on your path to forgiveness. Sometimes mistakes can be cleaned up and if that’s the case in your situation, you best get to mopping. Don’t complain. Don’t grumble. Just do it. Everything has it’s limit though, and that includes the statute of limitations on your mistake – you can’t ‘pay’ forever and if after a reasonable amount of time you’ve been unable to make up for your mistake, perhaps it’s time to move on.
- Go ahead and learn something. No you don’t want to hear it at the time, but every mistake really is a learning experience. People rush. People don’t think. People don’t make the best decisions. Now that you’ve made this mistake, you’ll be more careful next time. You’ll slow down. You’ll think. You’ll make better decisions. I’m here to tell you that if you learned from it, if you will never ever look at yourself in the mirror facing the same disappointment from the same mistake, then you have grown as a person. If you know more now than you knew then, perhaps it’s not disappointment that you feel at all. Perhaps, it’s growing pains.
- Get.Back.Up. No one died. (Disclaimer: if someone died this is not the blog for you). Maybe some bad things happened. Hell, maybe a whole lotta bad things happened. You can’t fix anything from down there on the ground feeling sorry for yourself. You can’t make anything better if you just stand there, frozen in fear that you might mess up again. Spoiler alert: You’re gonna mess up again. But not like this. No. Never again like this.
In short, shit happens and it’s better to admit you stink and clean that mess up than to walk around acting like you don’t. Now, if you’ll excuse me – I’m going to go take my own advice.