I Made a Mistake and I Feel Horrible. What to Do?

Written by: Vasundhara Shukla – M.Phil (Psychology)

Last updated date : September 18, 2022

Table of Contents Article title – Body image concerns
  1. Chapter 1
  2. Chapter 2
  3. Chapter 3
  4. Chapter 4
  5. Chapter 5
  6. Chapter 6
  7. Chapter 7
  8. Chapter 8

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Table of Contents I Made a Mistake and I Feel Horrible. What to Do?
  1. How to Learn From Past Mistakes?
  2. How to Not Feel Horrible About Past Mistakes?
  3. Final Thoughts

To err is human. This means that all humans make mistakes. Many people know this but few truly understand it because we’re constantly criticizing ourselves and others for mistakes. There are times when we all think ‘I made a mistake and I feel horrible. Going over past mistakes and not being able to get over them can make you feel guilty and very bad about yourself.

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Chapter 1:
How to Learn From Past Mistakes?

Understand the Mistake

Before dismissing it as a mistake, it is good to go over what happened, how did it happen and what result did it lead to. By doing so we are going back in time to understand the origin of the mistake. Use this experience to grow and not feel guilty about it. This involves thinking about the mistake rather than dismissing it too quickly.

Accept the Mistake

Some mistakes have a larger impact while others are trivial and small. Sometimes we have problems accepting faults because of the results they led to. But it is important to know that no matter how much we want to but we can’t take back what has happened in the past. Accepting the mistake is a step forward in coming to terms with it and finally moving past it.

Learn From Your Mistakes

Learning from your mistakes is key to avoiding these from happening again. By thinking what could have been done differently can help in doing so. Try to convert thoughts into actions that can be undertaken to check improvement. This will help you not to feel horrible after making a mistake.

Being Overly Critical

By being very critical of yourself, you are robbing yourself of the opportunity to improve. This is because when you are always focusing on the negative or are not able to forgive yourself for the mistake, you tend to remain in the past. For real improvement to happen, you have to remain in the present and use the past to learn. By remembering the past you will only feel guilty and bad and no learning will occur if you always beat yourself down.

Focus on What You Want in Life

When you are in a thought cycle where you are unable to forgive yourself for the mistakes you made, you might end up feeling pretty horrible. Instead of focusing on these thoughts envision where you want to be with these new learnings. By doing so you are not only distracting yourself from these thoughts but also creating a vision of success.

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Chapter 2:
How to Not Feel Horrible About Past Mistakes?

The act of letting go becomes easier after you follow the above steps. But some things become important in teaching yourself to go easy on yourself and letting go of the things beyond your control.

Self Compassion 

The reason you are beating yourself up for making a mistake is mainly that you are hard on yourself and have very high expectations from yourself. Self-compassion is a quality in which you treat yourself with kindness and warmth that you would bestow on your loved ones. This is easier said than done as the people who do so are the ones who can not believe that they can make mistakes this way. So, they relive their mistakes every time and bash themselves for it. This has a very negative impact on their self-esteem.

Influence of Others

Sometimes our feelings are influenced by others’ opinions and comments which are harsh and unforgiving. Some people might enjoy making you feel guilty and bad. Focus on your thoughts and feelings while dealing with mistakes that had an impact on others. While others’ opinions can help us gain insight if we do not realize we are making a mistake, it is not always helpful. Give your feelings priority and when you can sort it out then focus on others’ comments. You need not feel horrible after making a mistake.

Accept Responsibility

By acknowledging that a mistake happened, you start the process of learning. The next step is to accept responsibility for the consequences. Be truthful to yourself and if you think you had something to do with what happened acknowledge the results.

Apologize

It is important to apologize to others who were under stress because of your mistakes. This can happen when you are aware of the mistake. This will lift a burden off your shoulders and also make others realize that you are sorry for what happened and will try your best so that it does not happen again.

Write a Letter of Apology to Yourself

In an attempt to give yourself closure, write an apology letter to yourself. You can describe how you did not know better and what are you taking from this experience. This will help you not get consumed by guilt and help you let go.

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Chapter 3:
Final Thoughts

Being kind to yourself is the core of forgiving yourself for the mistakes you made. You made a mistake and feel horrible but does thinking about it repeatedly change the past? Instead of focusing on what you can do about it will help you grow and will be beneficial to others as well. A consequence of beating yourself up for your mistakes is low self-esteem. If you think you need more information on how self-esteem affects our mental health and how to improve it, please consider enrolling in our course ‘Low Self Esteem‘.

Reviews 4.1

Learn evidence-based scientific ways to fix body image issues.

70 Lessons

6 hours

  • Educational Content
  • Quizzes
  • Self-reflection material
  • Suggestions & feedback
  • Worksheet, tips & tools to use

€9.00 €12.00

25% discount