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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.

Talk

4.6

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.

Duration

Your default time is based on your progress and is changed automatically as you practice.

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.

Talk

4.6

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