I was power washing our patio last week and it was truly satisfying! We have woods behind our house and the patio gets so grimy over the autumn and winter months. Watching the power of water magically transform our full dank, dark paving stones into bright, light and summery colours was magical.
Of course this made me think about how easy it is to clean a patio (forget about how messy I got). A few strokes of the water jet and it’s clean. You can erase so much and start again.
What about your life?
Is there anything in your life that you would like to erase?
Unfortunately we can’t turn back time to magically undo something we’ve done. If only it were that simple! Instead we can help ourselves move forward and not let what happened affect our future.
So, you made a mistake, welcome to the club! We all do because we are human. Forgive yourself for making the error in judgement. We learn from them and move on. I know some mistake can be embarrassing or life changing or make you laugh or cry. But the truth is we can’t take it back, so we have to learn to live with our decision and move on.
Whilst we can’t erase here are 5 ideas to help you let go and move forward.
- What did you learn? Did you learn something about yourself or about a process or another person? Break it down: Ok so I did this and the outcome was awful. I learnt not to trust x, or do my research again, or ask for further information, or take my time to go through all the options and possible outcomes (if I have the luxury of time). Was there any way to know this would be the outcome? If yes, did I give it consideration or did I just dismiss it and think it would not happen? Was there any other factors influencing my choice at the time? Take these into account so the next time you have to make a choice, you consider possible outcomes and all available options.
- What would you do differently? With all the information you have on the situation now. Would you have done anything differently? If so, was that an option you had thought of at the time or has it only come to light since the incident? Was the reason why you did what you did because all the information you had at the time pointed to the course of action taken? What would have happened if you hadn’t made any decision? Was it better to have made the wrong decision than no decision?
- What would you tell a friend? We are much harder on ourselves than we are on our friends. We would not hold our friends to such high standards as we know they are not possible to adhere to. So why do we pin those high standards on ourself? If your friend was in this situation what would you say to them to help them move on. You would likely comfort them and say, they did the right thing or you would’ve done the same under the circumstances. Or, you know now not to do x and it’s a learn so it’s a positive. Without the mistake you wouldn’t have known, so perhaps it was better to make it now and find out in this instance, rather than the future. Maybe you would hug your friend and go over the moment again, no matter how uncomfortable and talk through each decision point. This would help them realise, in the moment why they did what they did and what other options (if any) were available. From there they will see, anyone would have done the same. However, it could be something that was never going to be a good decision, and in this case, you just need to comfort them and say, they know never to do that again. Help them to forgive themselves.
- No explanation needed. You did what you did and that’s it. Whether you have explained it once or a million times. Leave it. Do not keep explaining to people or the same person why you did what you did. It’s done, over and gone. The moment has passed and no matter what you say, it will not change the outcome. So stop explaining.
- Accept and forgive yourself. This is probably one of the hardest things to do. It is not easy to just forgive yourself when your mind will likely be going over and over it. Take the time to go through it, use all the points above to help. You can’t change it now. Get to a place where you can say in your mind or out loud that you did X, you now know it was a mistake, but you learnt Y. In that moment you took the decision and as you cannot go back in time, you accept you made the wrong choice. You now forgive yourself as you can’t change the outcome and beating yourself up over it, is not helping you. If you are ever in the situation again, you would do things differently.
The next time you make a mistake, go through these points to help you get to a level of acceptance you are comfortable with. Mistakes are not deliberate, you didn’t set out to hurt anyone or do what you did. It just happened. Be kind to yourself and forgive yourself.
Have a great week, don’t work too hard and look after you.
Love Emma xx