We’ve all made choices that we regret now and again. This is an inevitable part of daily life, and it’s a huge aspect to how we learn and grow. Our mistakes ultimately help us to understand more deeply who we are, and they help us to carve out our personal boundaries.
It’s not always easy to see that our mistakes and poor choices can be helpful to us though, especially when we are right in the thick of it all. If we could always benefit equally from our good decisions and poor decisions, life would be easy peasy, wouldn’t it? Unfortunately, our natural instincts make it challenging to benefit from poor choices. We become upset, distract ourselves, withdraw, feel embarrassed, or give up altogether.
Just tonight, my daughter received a tough lesson in making poor choices. On her favorite online game, she traded an item with someone that she believed wanted to trade her back for an item of equal value. Just prior to this ‘trade’, I had been hinting to her to remember that not everyone online is who they say to be.
I did not know that she was about to make this trade, but something was telling me to give her a firm reminder to be cautious on online games. Imagine how incredibly upset she was with herself when she found the other player to have logged out immediately after she gave over her game item. It took her awhile to calm down, and of course, she was mainly upset with herself.
As I consoled her, I shared with her some of my blogging experiences. There have been many times where I have been writing an article, only to be near the finish and have the entire article vanish. There have also been plenty of times where I have been learning about doing some coding in my site, only to find that I made a major mistake and now need to find someone to help me fix it. Lo and behold, many times I have been pleasantly surprised with the outcome of the corrected mistake. I reminded my daughter that she may be surprised to find new and better things about her favorite game that she will enjoy.
They say that the more mistakes you make, the more successful you become. That might be true, but you must deal with your bad decisions effectively before you can move forward. There’s a process to making the most of your poor decisions.
When you can benefit from poor choices, there are no poor choices.
Take responsibility for your decision. You were part of the problem. There’s no getting around it. The only way out, is through. Taking responsibility allows you to retain some semblance of control of the situation. And once you are back to a place of clarity and calm, you can begin to take the necessary corrective action.
Stay present with what has happened. It’s easy to let your mind run wild after making a poor choice. There’s nothing to see there. It’s hard to stay in the present moment when things are going wrong all around you. Allowing your mind to wander is just a form of distraction. Pay attention to what is happening right now, so that you don’t give your power away.
Talk it out with a friend, family member, or trusted colleague. If you can’t let go of your mistake, spend some time talking with a loyal friend. An outsider to the situation often has a more calm and reasonable viewpoint. Go for a walk to clear the air with someone you trust, or pick up the phone and give someone a call.
Learn the lesson you are being gifted with. Every bad decision has a lesson to teach. Of course, it can be painful to examine your poor choices. Do you know what’s even more painful? Making the same mistake again. Take a little time to figure out what you can learn from the situation.
Move onwards and upwards. Try not to allow yourself to sit in the whirling thoughts and emotions. There’s nothing to be gained by dwelling on your mistakes. A poor decision that you’ve never made before isn’t a bad thing. It’s simply a part of life.
Take what you’ve learned and add it to your pool of wisdom. How can you prevent a similar occurrence in the future? Did you put yourself into a situation where no good option existed? Or did you merely make the wrong call?
Remember all of the good things that you have in your life. Whatever it may be that you have lost or let go of, remember that the sun will rise and set again tomorrow. As human beings, we are continually rebirthing and reinventing ourselves. Remind yourself of the wonderful things you have, and all of the things that bring you joy.
Remember that your next good decision will feel completely amazing. A vacation only feels good because you contrast it with work. Spend six months in a Florida condo and see how excited you still are. Everything reaches an eventual plateau. As time goes on, you will find that any poor decisions make your good decisions that much more enjoyable.
Forgive yourself – yes, you deserve it. Everyone makes more than a few mistakes. It’s an impossible fate to escape. Accept the consequences of your choice, try to embrace any changes and move forward. It’s impossible to always make perfect decisions. What is the definition or perfect, anyway? We can be so incredibly hard on ourselves, and it’s just not worth it.
Remember that you are not your decisions, and your decisions don’t own you. You are separate and apart from the choices you make. Bad choices don’t make you bad any more than good decisions make you good. Don’t let your decisions – or anyone else’s decisions – define you.
You can make the choice to benefit from all your previous bad choices right now.
Here’s an exercise for you. Make a list of every poor decision you’ve ever made. What are the lessons you feel you have learned? Remember to take pause and feel into past scenarios rather than reacting. See if you are still holding on to any negative emotions, and if you are, do what you can to heal these emotions and any lingering beliefs that do not serve you.
These tips will hopefully help you to gain some deeper insight, and move on. May you move forward with clarity of mind and self-love in your heart.