Over the past few months I’ve made a lot of mistakes, and the past 3 weeks have been pretty batshitcrazy in particular. We all make mistakes now and then, and the best possible thing to do is grow and learn from them. Though of course that first involves acknowledging them.
What do you call a mistake?
Obviously ‘mistake’ is a pretty broad term that everyone classes slightly differently. I view mistakes as something you do unintentionally that causes yourself or others harm. For this post I’m going to be focusing on mistakes caused by subconscious patterning. Subconscious patternings are your patterns of behaviour that are dictated by your self-worth and any underlying limiting beliefs you may have.
The fact that they’re subconscious means that for the most part you won’t even consider them to be affecting your behaviour. It’s not until you analyse what you’re doing, and your mistakes in particular, that you’ll notice these patterns.
An example of this is coping mechanisms. Everyone has their own coping mechanisms, and some are much more destructive than others. Coping mechanisms borne out of more volatile situations often lead to destructive behaviour. Of course we can overcome this, but first we actually have to be aware of them.
Recently I’d gone back to some fairly old coping mechanisms of mine and it took me a while to notice. In my case I was (unintentionally) using hypersexuality as a coping mechanism for a lot of crap. It took me almost 3 weeks to realise that I was pretty much exactly repeating some old bad habits.
The first step to overcoming your mistakes is acknowledging them. Depending on how long your behaviours been going on, or the severity of the outcomes this may take a while. Accepting that you’ve made a mistake, no matter how big or small, allows you to begin processing your patterns of behaviour. Thinking through the situation and reflecting on what led to your actions or contributed to your behaviour also helps.
Maybe you don’t know exactly what caused it, that’s okay too. Not everything is always crystal clear and sometimes taking space from the situation can give you the clarity needed to understand it. Simply saying ‘I did X because of Y, and that’s okay’ is a good start. Once you’ve accepted that you can begin working on bettering the situation.
Don’t beat yourself up
Treating yourself too harshly can quickly become a downward spiral. You’re upset because you made a mistake, so you wallow in the sadness and self-pity…then never solve the issue. Making mistakes fucking sucks, but only focusing on how crappy it makes you feel doesn’t actually solve anything. It’s pretty natural to feel upset about things you’ve done wrong– but the fact that this was accidental does make a difference.
It’s literally never too late to pick yourself back up and start working on making things better. If you feel like you’ve massively fucked everything up then things can only get better.
Dealing with repercussions, this part is one of the hardest. In situations where you truly didn’t mean to cause harm reflecting on your behaviour and apologising can be heartbreaking. Especially if you’ve hurt or involved people, that you care for.
If you’ve upset or hurt someone apologise for it sincerely. Depending on what’s happened it might be useful to give them more insight into what led to your behaviours. This will help them to understand that your mistake was truly a mistake.
If the harm has been done to yourself then take time to recenter yourself. Focus on exactly why you wanted to treat yourself in a negative way, or any subconscious beliefs that are negatively affecting you. If you’ve got low self-esteem then your mistake may have been a reflection of that, or you way of acting in-line with your low self-worth.
This is the part where you make things better. It works in two steps: 1. Overcome subconscious patterning 2. Fix the mistake.
- Subconscious Patterning.
I’ve talked about this previously so won’t go into as much depth here. If you’ve already started to reflect on your mistake then you’ll be able to pick out some situations or things that led to it. Focus on how they made you feel or want to react that led to the mistake you made.For example, you got jealous of someone. Instead of talking about it you cut yourself off from them. Here the mistake would be isolating yourself from someone you care about. But the reason you’ve chosen isolation is a more deep seeded issue. In order to overcome the mistake you need to get to the route of the issue, this way in the future you’ll be able to avoid the same mistake.
- Fix the mistake
Once you’ve dealt with the immediate repercussions of your mistake you need to tackle the rest of the fallout. This can be anything from removing yourself from a social commitment, to cutting someone out of your life. Just because you’ve made a mistake that doesn’t mean you can’t prevent any further damage that it might cause!
At this point the situation should be pretty much solved. The mistake acknowledged and apologised for, the subconscious beliefs brought to light, and any further ramifications dealt with. The last thing to do is to stay focused. Once you’ve begun to understand some of your limiting beliefs it’s important to keep them in mind. Of course we all slip up now and then but the more you stick to overcoming your negative behavioural patterns the easier it all becomes, and the less mistakes are made. It’s pretty much a win-win.
*So I haven’t posted regularly in months, sorry about that! I’ve been focusing on photography as well as moving, and making some questionable mistakes. But hopefully I’ll be back to blogging more regularly soon!