Dealing With Shame Over Life's Mistakes.


 A couple of years ago, I noticed that I would just wince psychologically when thinking about any mistake in my life ever, past or present. I want to always continually grow to be a better person, so my flaw meter is turned up pretty high.

But I realized this perfectionism can have a very destructive side. I still felt embarrassment for every mistake I had made, even decades ago! Wouldn't it be better for me to just try to forget these things?

I thought that, once my life is over, I will never think of my problems again. All matters of this life will be over, permanently. No matter how important it seems now, no one will ever care about it, or even know about it. Even a TV movie seems to retain more reality. At least the movie is recorded, and thousands can see it. Many events of our personal life are as fleeting as one leaf blown in the wind in today's yard.

 Despite my best efforts, I can still make serious mistakes. Horrible things can happen,  problems can seem to intractable. I know that I want to do my best. But, beyond that, why remain all upset about something that no one else even knows about, and no one will ever care about again, once I am dead?

Isn't it best to spend my precious remaining time in life doing something constructive in the present?

Views: 122

Comment by David McClain on August 6, 2013 at 1:07pm

Regret at having made a mistake? I feel that all the time, but Shame? Never have.

Comment by Phyllis on August 7, 2013 at 4:41pm

Me, too, but I am trying to see them as lessons and move on. Good luck!

Comment by Lois Wickstrom on November 19, 2013 at 6:20pm

Shame implies you knew better and made a choice you knew would cause  problems if you got caught.  So, there are different types of mistakes.  There are the ones you genuinely thought were good choices and the ones you knew were bad choices, but hoped they had an upside. Either way, you have to live with the results.  I admire athletes who are able to keep on playing after the world has seen their mistakes.  They know if they dwell on their mistakes they won't play their best for the rest of the game.  That's all we can do -- play our best for the rest of the game.  Sometimes it helps to treat yourself like a friend.  You wouldn't dwell on a friend's mistakes. So treat yourself just as kindly.



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