In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to reveal the way that believing you are your mistakes turns into regret and a poison.
First a quick update:
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Are You A Victim of The Three Thieves of Happiness?
Here are 3 bad habits that rob you of happiness – and they all start with the letter C – and we all do them. Watch my video
Now, let’s talk about the way that believing you are your mistakes turns into regret and a poison.
As long as you are on this Earth, you will make mistakes. You will make mistakes because you are human and therefore imperfect. The question is not whether you will make a mistake but rather ‘how will you choose to respond to the mistakes you make?’
I was raised in a religion of perfectionism so making a mistake was a big deal. I identified with the mistake and therefore easily engaged in self-loathing, particularly when one chooses to focus on the principle that ‘we are all sinners.’ Choosing to focus on mistakes, also implied that I judged myself harshly for making mistakes as well as harshly judging others for making mistakes; focusing on mistakes led to self-labeling – a failure, loser, not good enough, never good enough, and so forth.
When you choose to beat yourself up for every mistake you make, then you begin to live a life of deep regrets. And regrets only become poison. When you steep yourself in the tea of regret, you begin to drown because you cannot think of anything else except that which you have no control over, namely the past. Instead of taking control of your life, you become chained to the past, longing to have done things differently and no longer focusing on what you can now control, and the way you can shape and mold your life.
“Forget mistakes. Forget failure. Forget everything except what you’re going to do now and do it.” — Will Durant
It is through mistakes that we shape experiences, and when we choose to learn from those mistakes, we develop wisdom. The key to learning from mistakes rather than being paralyzed by them is to recognize that you are not your mistakes. You are not the mistake or the mistakes.
“Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.”
Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere’s Fan, 1892, Act III
If you choose to attach your identity to your mistakes, then you will cripple yourself every time you make a mistake. And the more you become attached and focus on mistakes, the more mistakes you will make, and the weaker will be your response and resiliency. The more you focus on mistakes you made (the past) the less belief you have in your own capabilities – self-efficacy – and the more you will engage in self-sabotage, believing that you are bad and not worthy of love and success.
“Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t waste energy trying to cover up failure. Learn from your failures and go on to the next challenge. It’s OK to fail. If you’re not failing, you’re not growing.” – H. Stanley Judd
Attaching your identity to your mistakes will also make you afraid to take any risks or to try something new out of fear of making a mistake, and thus being a ‘bad person’ or a failure or a loser.
You make mistakes; mistakes don’t make you.
Beware of labeling yourself. No matter how well prepared you are, there will be mistakes; there will be errors.
“In the real world, the smartest people are people who make mistakes and learn. In school, the smartest people don’t make mistakes.” – Robert Kiyosaki
In my corporate workshops, I teach about the dangers of seeking perfection, and instead I promote the concept of seeking excellence. And excellence can only be achieved when you are willing to admit mistakes have been made and to learn from them.
Beware of punishing yourself now or in the future for the mistakes you made in the past. Separate yourself from the behavior of mistakes. Instead of attaching harsh emotional judgment to behavior of errors, correct the behavior and course. Be a scientist not a courtroom judge in the way you respond to your mistakes. Note what works and what doesn’t work; adjust accordingly and forgive yourself for the mistake.
Placing your neurological state in stress, threat or negativity cripples you; it reduces your ability to respond with power and purpose.
“What we found is that only 25% of job successes are predicted by IQ, 75 percent of job successes are predicted by your optimism levels, your social support and your ability to see stress as a challenge instead of as a threat.” – Shawn Achor
When you shift from self-loathing to self-acceptance and the willingness to openly admit and learn from mistakes, your brain shifts, too, and you become better at problem-solving, more creative with enhanced memory and capabilities.
“The most effective way to prevent what’s bad is to promote what’s good. The best way to influence behavior is not to control and regulate, but to inspire and motivate. You get more for your efforts when they’re applied in a positive direction. Instead of fighting against what you dislike, work to build and support what you value and desire. The answer to despair is not to despise it, for that only adds to it. The answer is to overwhelm it with goodness and love. Focus your attention and energy on what works, and make more of it. Celebrate what is good and right, useful and valuable, and allow it to grow. Nurture, promote and support what you love about life. Delight in the good things, and give the power of your joy to them. Be a positive force by acting with positive purpose. Give your awareness and energy to the good side of life, and make it stronger than ever.”
– Ralph Marston
If you need help to forgive yourself for mistakes and to overcome guilt and shame, book a one-on-one session with me.
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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”
Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist
Anointed “The Woman Expert” by WGN Chicago, Patrick Wanis PhD is a renowned Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert who developed SRTT therapy (Subconscious Rapid Transformation Technique) and is teaching it to other practitioners. Wanis’ clientele ranges from celebrities and CEOs to housewives and teenagers. CNN, BBC, FOX News, MSNBC & major news outlets worldwide consult Wanis for his expert insights and analysis on sexuality, human behavior and women’s issues. Wanis is the first person ever to do hypnotherapy on national TV – on the Montel Williams show.