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How Do I Stop Beating Myself Up After a Big Mistake?

Mark Coleman






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How Do I Stop Beating Myself Up After a Big Mistake?

Is a past failure or mistake holding you back? Mark offers a wise and personal perspective for how to view mistakes.

Hello, Mark Coleman here.

I've been asked to answer the

question, how do I stop beating myself

up after I've made a big mistake?

So thank you for that question.

A really important one.

And of course, in life,

natural that we make mistakes.

We choose the wrong thing.

We make a decision that turns

out not to be the wisest.

We let people down.

All kinds of things in life happen

that we regret the course of action

that we've taken or what we've said.

The first thing to remember is part

of being human, part of being alive,

part of living is we make mistakes.

We have errors.

We're not perfect.

Have you ever met a perfect human being?

No, they don't exist.

I can look back at my life and

think how many, many times I've made

mistakes, done things that I wish

now I'd chosen a different path.

I think about the time that I bought a

small cottage just before the housing

crash and crisis of 2008, 2009.

And of course the house that I

bought was probably at its highest

value, inflated in the United States

by the easy accessible mortgages.

And then the financial crisis

happened and house prices plummeted.

And I was left with this property

upside down, where I owed a lot more

money than what I'd paid for it.

And now sitting on a big loss.

And guess what?

My inner critic had a lot of things to

say about that, had a lot of judgements.

Why did you buy that house?

Why didn't you do better research?

Why didn't you wait?

You could've got better consultation,

And then of course starts to universalize.

Oh, you always make the wrong decisions.

Why can't you handle your

money better than you do?

Why don't you be more cautious or

more studious before you do these

rash things like buy a house?

And so I had to work a lot, both with

feeling frustrated at the larger economic

situation in which I'd made his decision.

And hadn't really been aware of

the eminent crash of the financial

markets and the housing markets.

And like Thousands, if not millions,

of others was upside down and had to

listen to my critic, having lots of

views and judgments and making big

generalizations as the critic likes to do.

And so it's important that we

pay attention to the critic

and what it's saying and learn

to meet it with some clarity.

And in the course, I

teach about forgiveness.

Forgiveness, one definition, it's

letting go of all hope of a better past.

And I can hear, sometimes when I

say that, people's voices saying,

well, I can't forgive myself.

It sounds like letting

myself off the hook.

And certainly that's what the

critic would have to say about that.

And forgiving oneself isn't about

ignoring what you've done, so

you go ahead and do it again.

But it's an attitude of learning from our

life and our choices and our mistakes.

Of course, even the word mistake

you can hold with a question.

Are there any real mistakes in

life or they're just choices?

Some are more skillful than others,

some lead to better fruit than others.

And in the moment, what seems

like a mistake in the moment

can actually be a great benefit

in the long run and vice versa.

What can seem really great in the

moment, like someone could have bought

a house in 2007 and thought great, I've

made all this money between 2007, 2009.

No mistake.

And then suddenly see the value of

that house dropped in half and by 2010.

So important also, just

to notice that frame.

Was it a mistake or was it just

a series of choices or decisions

or actions that weren't optimal?

So one of the things that's important

to learn with the critic is it will

try to convince you, as it does me at

times, well, if I just keep telling you,

you made a mistake, you did it wrong.

You should have done this.

You should have done that.

You should have done research.

You should have got consultation, blah,

blah, blah, that somehow all that judging,

berating, criticism will somehow make us

better off when we make the next decision.

That all of that chastising and

criticism will make us smarter,

wiser, clearer in the future.

The sad thing about all of that judging is

it just makes us feel bad about ourselves.

We might feel stupid.

We might feel unworthy.

We might feel shame.

We might feel contracted.

So we don't actually do anything,

always so frozen to make the next

decision because of expecting or

fearing the wrath of the critic.

The challenge with the critic is because

it's busy judging and shaming us in

our actions, we don't actually learn.

We just feel deficient and unworthy.

Far better to not listen to the critic,

but to simply try to understand,

well, what actually happened here.

I made this decision based

on this thinking, this logic.

And remembering that we make the best

decisions and do the best we can in

the moment with the information and

the resources we have in that moment.

If I'd had a crystal ball and saw the

financial collapse of 2008 and nine,

of course, I wouldn't have bought a

house as would have millions of others,

but we don't have the crystal ball.

The critic thinks we should have one or

looks back and condemns us for decisions

based on a lack of information that we

didn't have, because we couldn't have had

it because we couldn't know the future.

So it's understanding that the

judging and criticism doesn't help.

What helps is we bring a spirit

of inquiry, of investigation.

Oh, what happened?

What was this decision?

What is this thing I'm calling amistake?

How can I learn from this?

Maybe I can discuss it with others.

Maybe I can learn something about myself.

Maybe I do make rash decisions.

Maybe I do need to consult with someone

before I make a big financial decision.

But to load on judgment after judgment,

doesn't actually facilitate understanding.

It just facilitates

feeling bad about yourself.

So I hope you can use these words as

a way to work with yourself, to see

the different ways that you might be

beating yourself up, to understanding

that we do the best we can, and that

to judge and shame ourselves does not

help us learn and grow and therefore

not make the same mistake in the future.

So thank you for your questions

and for your practice.

And as you work with this, remembering

it's so important to be kind and caring

with yourself which is so opposite to

how the judge works, which is coming

from harshness and sometimes cruelty.

So please enjoy your practice.

Thank you.

Included in

Q&A on Negative Thinking null Playlist · 5 tracks

Q&A on Negative Thinking

Playlist · 5 tracks4.9

More by this teacher

Where Does the Inner Critic Come From?Talk by Mark Coleman
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Mark Coleman

Where Does the Inner Critic Come From?

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