If you are healthy and alive, however hard things may seem at the moment, believing that your life is ruined due to one mistake is simply not realistic.
The only fatal mistakes you can make are those where you or someone else loses life or damages health severely. Literally, everything else is fixable.
What can actually ruin your life way more than the mistake itself is the regret that usually follows mistakes.
Will you let the regret consume you? You know how they say – what you focus on will grow.
Here are some suggestions to help you get through this challenging period if you feel like you are mired in the past and unable to move on.
There are several effective strategies to deal with regret: staying in the present, addressing it, and living each day as it comes.
But first, let’s examine what a mistake really is.
Can One Mistake Ruin Your Whole Life?
It may sound unrealistic or idealistic, but the fact is that we all do our best.
It is impossible to be perfect and brilliant every day. Our energy and mood vary, and there are many other factors that influence how we will behave in a given situation.
Every decision we make results from everything we have learned and experienced so far. Knowing our limitations makes it easier to understand that we did the best we could.
Limitations do not include only our capabilities and skills but, more importantly, our beliefs.
If you believe your life is ruined beyond repair due to one single act, think again. Is it really one single mistake that changed the whole course of your life?
The truth is, that’s rarely possible, and it is way more likely that there’s a whole system of beliefs that led you to make the mistake you made.
So, many small mistakes in judgment have led to making the mistake that you believe ruined your life.
If you want a precise answer, here it is – one mistake can not ruin your life. But, you can always ruin your life by refusing to change and failing to understand the lesson from your mistakes.
3 Ways to Deal with Mistakes
Although it might be challenging to address your sentiments of regret, it can be beneficial to see these painful emotions as chances for development and transformation.
Your likelihood of clinging to your regret and feeling hopeless will decrease if you alter the way you view it.
By admitting that you made a mistake, you may also embrace yourself and other people while also being able to grow from your mistakes.
1. Overcoming Regret
When we make a mistake, we feel intense regret for the missed opportunity, the injustice caused, or the unwanted consequences.
We go back to the past, question, and judge ourselves. And this process is natural and has its function. The point of regret is to see what we did wrong, learn the lesson and move on.
However, people often get stuck in this process and judge themselves too harshly, as if the mistake is unforgivable.
This form of self-punishment that is extremely painful and exhausting does not bring anything useful and, more importantly, only leads us to new mistakes.
It’s hard to overcome regret. However, a man was created to change, and that’s how we should understand mistakes.
They are there for us to change, they are inevitable, and there is no way to learn something without making mistakes.
The key to overcoming regret is to calmly acknowledge all the external and internal facts that led us to make a mistake.
Only when we appreciate everything will we realize that we really could not do otherwise and that at that moment, we really believed that we were doing the best we could.
2. Learning a Lesson
The next stage in overcoming the mistake occurs when we come to terms with the fact that it could not have been otherwise and leave the regret behind.
The mind is then freed from a significant amount of unpleasant emotions, and it is easier to see what exactly went wrong.
This is the stage where we ask ourselves what I learned from this experience and how to apply it further in life.
But in order to be able to truly accept the lesson, it is essential that we previously accept the fact that the mistake was not fatal but inevitable.
If, for example, you fail to enroll in the desired university because of a mistake on the test, and as a result, you end up in a completely different career – is it a mistake that you didn’t do the test well, or is it a mistake that you didn’t try again?
A fatalist will mourn for years because of a mistake on the test and persecute himself because of it. A person who accepts life as it is will try to enroll in another similar university, try again next year, or find a third way to do what they love.
Do you understand that a fatalistic view of life is a far more harmful mistake than a mistake on a test?
Such insights allow you to grow and avoid making serious life mistakes. Still, they only come when you stop punishing yourself with regret for the past.
3. Integrating the Change
Overcoming a mistake is actually a process of change and growth.
Every mistake we face, which we accept, let go of and learn a lesson from, permanently changes our perspective and, in the long run, makes our life better.
When we change, it shows in how we behave, and people around us often notice something is different. There lies a new challenge – sometimes, it is harder for our environment to accept that we have changed than for us.
However, growth and development do not go backward. With every change, there is a possibility that we will move away from some people in life and get closer to others.
A Perfectionist’s Struggle with Mistakes
Certain personality types have a particularly hard time dealing with mistakes – especially people with perfectionist traits and very high expectations of themselves.
They live with the belief that they are worthy of attention, love, and respect only if they are perfect.
Therefore, they see every mistake, even the smallest, as a disaster that will lead others to reject them as worthless.
They typically withdraw into themselves when they make a mistake, refuse comfort, and tend to self-punish. They are often not as strict with others as they are with themselves.
They can remain stuck in the past for a long time because they cannot forgive themselves for their mistakes.
If you recognize yourself in this description, it is extremely important that you understand that life was never meant to be perfect, nor is it possible.
You are not the only person who makes mistakes; no one can be defined by one mistake. You are not your mistake, but a person with both good and less good qualities, and you certainly have the right to make mistakes.
The Silver Lining of Making Mistakes
When is it too late to make a change in your life?
Simple response: never. Your ability to shape your future the way you want relies on how motivated and eager you are to do so.
Even at 70, you can do things you didn’t think you could when you were much younger.
The possibility of a better and more fulfilled life is always there. Even if you have to periodically reevaluate your goals and be realistic about your physical and mental limitations.
Just keep in mind that you will have more time to benefit from your efforts the earlier you begin. Now is the only time that matters.
If you truly believe that you have ruined your life, you may be considering whether it is possible to simply start again. Yes, in certain ways, you can. You have the power to alter every aspect of your life and attempt a new beginning anytime you feel like it.
If your new life is to be better than your existing one, it must take into account your mindset. You cannot expect to create a wonderful new life while carrying about the same dysfunctional beliefs that led you to make mistakes in the first place.
We are humans. We learn through mistakes. We will pay more for some mistakes than others, but that does not mean they are fatal.
If you think about it, many great scientific discoveries are the result of unplanned mistakes – that’s only natural.
What is not natural and far more dangerous than any mistake is to fixate on that one experience and remain stuck in it.
Some mistakes will connect us with people who will become important in our lives. Some mistakes will make us better, more generous people.
Some mistakes will distance us from toxic people. The only fatal mistake you can make is to believe that one mistake can ruin a life.