Beating yourself up after you make a mistake isn’t very productive. Mistakes are a part of being human, and everyone has flaws. The imperfect nature of being human means regretting things you’ve done, and feeling guilty or shameful.
Here’s the thing to remember: mistakes do not define you.
One way to overcome the feelings of guilt and shame that come with mistakes is to conceive of them as opportunities for growth. Here are eight reasons why mistakes are really opportunities:
1. They force you to be present.
Sometimes your mistakes can wake you up in life. They force you to be present and see why you made the mistake in the first place. It’s an opportunity to become more aware of where you are in the moment, and how that affects your decisions.
2. They make you ask questions of yourself and others.
Mistakes force you to reflect on how the mistake makes us feel, how it makes others feel, and what we could have done differently. This reflection is a source of growth, an opportunity to look at things differently and broaden your perspective.
3. They encourage you to look in the mirror.
Being honest with yourself isn’t always easy. When you do something wrong or fail, you’re forced to embrace this honesty. You think about why you did what you did, and the motives behind it. Sometimes the motives don’t come from a place of love, but from a place of fear.
4. They motivate you to plan better.
Use your mistakes as a stepping stone. Allow for them to be lessons in how you can do things differently. Maybe it means taking more time to plan your course of action, or being patient with yourself and others.
5. They mold you into the best version of yourself.
Through mistakes, you can build yourself into the person you’d ideally like to be. This builds character. Mistakes propel you to become the most authentic version of yourself.
6. They help you share the human experience with others.
By going through mistakes or challenges, you have the opportunity to help others. This could mean giving another person advice you wish you’d known earlier. It could mean sharing a challenging experience, and what you wish you could have done differently.
7. They humble you.
Humility means letting go of a sense of entitlement. It means presence. It means letting go of the ego and connecting with the fact that you are human and have flaws.
8. They hold you accountable.
It’s hard to work your way out of mistakes. You have to take ownership and accountability over them. This experience makes you stronger, and helps you grow on a continual basis.