We’ve all made mistakes, but I’m not talking about a slight “oops” here. I’m talking about something major. A big and monumental screw up. The kind of thing that results in a lost job, lost friendships, divorce, financial ruin, or legal problems. The kind of mistake where you wake up in the morning full of dread, not sure how to move on.
There is always a way.
Acknowledge and Let Go
First thing, acknowledge the screw up. Accept that you have made a mistake and that damage has been done. However, once you have acknowledged it, you need to move on. You need to avoid ruminating about the problem. All that will do is lead to anxiety, depression, and a host of other problems. It will also get in the way of the next step.
Apologize if You Need to
Make amends when needed. If anyone was hurt by your mistake, they need an apology. Admit your wrong doing, but keep the focus on them. Talking about how your mistake has affected you will not help those you hurt. Keep in mind, some people may not want your apology or they may be unwilling to meet or talk to you. Respect that boundary. They might come to you when they are willing to talk, or they might not. You have to be alright with either.
Picking up the Pieces
Trudging forward after a major mistake is one of the hardest things you will do. It might mean starting over, sorting out legal problems, looking for a new job, or dealing with feelings of shame. It’s going to suck. You might feel unworthy, or like you need to constantly justify your existence. Sometimes you might feel like your life will never be what it was. However, these feelings also go to show how much you’ve grown. If you are now able to pick out how wrong you were, it means you have matured enough to see the error of your ways.
You may have made a major screw up, and now life sucks. Take things one day at a time. Acknowledge your mistake, but let it go. Accept that you are not perfect, just like everyone else. Apologize when / if needed, but be prepared to give space when necessary. Finally, pick up the pieces and make the repairs where they are needed.
Everyone falls down sometimes, forgive yourself for being human and fight another day.