Mistakes are inevitable. It’s basically written into our biology that we will make them. If you claim that you never make mistakes, it seems likely that you don't do very much of anything.
There is a reason mistakes are consistent happenings in all of our lives: They help us to identify our faults so we can establish who we want to become. The experiences that mistakes allow us to have are unattainable elsewhere.
There’s no doubt that realizing you've made a mistake sucks. Disappointment and regret always seem to follow, along with other familiar feelings, like the pit that forms in your stomach and quickly consumes all of your attention and thoughts.
Still, I’m grateful that I've made mistakes. I’ve had my fair share and, ironically, my most embarrassing one to date is the one for which I'm most thankful.
I remember feeling like I had disappointed myself. I remember wishing I could either go back in time or fast forward 10 years into the future. I was trapped in my mind, consumed with my thoughts. I never took the time to allow myself to realize that what I did wasn't such a big deal.
Now, looking back, here are the things I wish someone had told me:
1. First and foremost, it is okay to make mistakes.
2. They really do allow for the best learning experiences -- believe it.
3. You should find comfort in the fact that everyone makes at least one major mistake in his or her life.
4. No one is harder on you than you are. YOU are the one who’s making this a big deal.
5. You have to believe that everything happens for a reason, including this.
6. No one will remember this by next week.
7. Actually, in a week from now, you and your friends will be laughing about it.
8. It may have been a fun mistake to make. (I hope it was fun while it lasted.)
9. It sucks right now, but you have to know that things will get better.
10. It’s over and done with; what’s past is past. Don’t allow your past to control you.
11. Someone will always have something to say about it; don’t let this consume you.
12. Who cares what anybody else thinks? External opinions are irrelevant — especially when unsolicited and overly dramatic.
13. This doesn't change who you are. In fact, it will help build you into a better person.
14. You're only human. Please remember that, if nothing else.
15. You would be wrong to never make mistakes. It’s a part of life; you have to make them.
16. Truthfully, you’re not fully living if you’re not making mistakes here and there along the way.
17. You don’t know what big-picture effect this may have on your life. It might actually turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to you.
18. Although it was a mistake, you'll never wonder, "what if?" about the situation.
19. Stop over-thinking it right now. What’s done is done.
20. You can sit around, sulking and feeling sorry for yourself about what happened and what you could have done differently. OR you can (and you should) go out and try to fix it or turn it into something great. Be inspired by it.
21. The best thing you can do for yourself is to realize that LIFE GOES ON. This isn't your first mistake and it probably won't be your last.
22. This simply is not the end of your world. I promise that you are not alone in feeling the way you do. I promise you will get through this. But most importantly, I promise that everything will be okay.