Sunday, 28 March 2021

Dealing with past mistakes

Ara shares tips about dealing with mistakes made in your past and being forgiving not just to others, but also to yourself. 

- Ara

We all make mistakes. We all regret certain choices, words, or situations. But how does one deal with overcoming certain mistakes, and not letting them bind you to the past? Accepting you have made a mistake may not be the problem but being unable to forgive yourself can sometimes stand in the way of  moving on. 

Coping with intrusive thoughts about past mistakes can sometimes be completely isolating, leaving you to spiral into a negative mind-set of guilt, regret, and self-criticism. These negative thoughts may shape your perspective of yourself and create a self-critical inner voice. You may feel triggered by a small flaw or fault, which could cause a delve back into the questioning, why do I keep making mistakes? Why can’t I do anything right? 

I know these feelings. I face my inner-critic constantly, and sometimes it overwhelms me. There is sometimes a misconception that feelings of guilt, regret and worthlessness can be overcome simply by ignoring this voice and moving on but in reality, it’s not as easy as it seems. As we let these intrusive thoughts manifest, we start to believe they are true. Although this is certainly not the case, it is difficult to switch this negative mind-set. 

The first step to overcoming the inability to forgive yourself is to understand that everyone, in one way or another has made a mistake. It is completely normal. We have to accept that it has happened and we can’t change it. The only thing we can change is the way we are now; if we live in the present, the past can no longer draw us back. 

Sometimes it seems as though we will never recover from things we went through, things we have done, or who we used to be, but reflecting on these things and recognising you have changed, proves you have already begun your journey of overcoming these obstacles. We need to remember that it’s okay to make mistakes and it’s okay to feel guilty about them, but we should never let them change our view of ourselves. You are not your mistakes; they don’t define who you are. 
 

Visit Student Space for further support. Explore online resources, access direct support via text, phone, web chat or email and find the support available at your place of study.


Hi, my name is Ara, I'm a Politics student at the University of Leeds. As I have been dealing with my mental health for 2 years, I want to share my story and tips for coping with difficult periods. It sometimes feels very lonely and I hope knowing someone is going through a similar experience can give you strength to go on. 

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