Learn From Your Mistakes

Faced with a mistake, you can judge and criticize yourself. Alternatively, you can take the opportunity to get to know yourself better and change your life.
Learn From Your Mistakes

Last update: 20 January, 2022

During your life, you’ll face difficult moments, situations when you’ll take the wrong path. After all, you’re only human and it’s natural that you’ll stumble and fail occasionally. However, the attitude you adopt in these circumstances will define who you are and how you want to live your life. In fact, learn from your mistakes and you’ll have conquered fear.

Some people have personal characteristics that make them more likely to suffer from failure. A tendency to perfectionism, a rigid personality, and a high intolerance to frustration are some of the main causes of a fear of failure. In fact, excessive self-demand means you live in a mental prison, in which your internal dialogue becomes your fiercest critic.

If you don’t allow yourself to be wrong, you limit your freedom. Each activity becomes a test, rather than an adventure. Furthermore, every mistake is a great personal failure. Your overwhelming fear of not being up to the task means you stay in your comfort zone and deprive yourself of the opportunity to experience the new.

Staying in a harmful place or in a painful situation becomes more acceptable than venturing to change course. Because this would mean admitting that you’ve failed. As a matter of fact, each mistake you make is like a heavy burden on your back that undermines your self-esteem, reminding you that you’re not good enough. 

Friends cultivating trust

Mistakes are an essential part of your journey

It’s essential to change your conception of error. You have to get rid of your negative assessment, of associating mistakes with failure or incompetence. Mistakes are a part of your journey. No one goes through life without making a mistake. Furthermore, they’re not insignificant elements of your journey, they’re essential ones.

Making mistakes is the first step to learning. The teaching that you obtain from making a mistake is far more valuable and relevant than that obtained from the good times. Failure teaches you about yourself and about the world, helps you clarify who you are, what you want, and what you don’t want. It shows you which actions lead to happiness and which to frustration.

For example, failing an exam makes you aware of the need to change your study methods. A breakup shows you what your interpersonal limits are and what you really want, need, and deserve. Leaving a job that doesn’t make you happy means you can start one you have a passion for.

For these reasons, mistakes don’t mean failure, but a leap of great magnitude in wisdom and experience. Getting divorced or losing your job doesn’t speak of your disability but of the journey you’ve already traveled, the work you’ve already done, and the lessons you’ve learned along the way.

Regretful man who wants to learn from his mistakes

Learn from your mistakes

If you change your perspective, your reality will change. Therefore, you should start to see your mistakes as a friend rather than an enemy, and you’ll find yourself getting closer and closer to accomplishing your goals.

  • Accept your mistakes as a part of life. You have to put those perfectionist, rigid, and inflexible conceptions out of your mind. Remember that everyone makes mistakes. That includes you. Accept this fact and allow yourself to fail, without fear and without guilt. Dare to try, explore, turn around, and change course. Integrate your mistakes as part of your existence and stop being afraid of them. Don’t let them condition you.
  • Use your mistakes as momentum, not to hold you back. When you fail, analyze the situation and extract a lesson. It doesn’t hurt for you to suffer, it hurts for you to change. Therefore, work out what message your mistake is trying to tell you.  What part did you play? What could you have done differently? The answers will help you get to know yourself better in terms of your desires, your needs, and your limits. Anchor this learning in your mind.
  • Take responsibility and forgive yourself. It’s important to recognize that you play the leading role in what happens to you and you must take charge of your actions. Settling in the role of victim leaves you powerless, adrift in the face of other people’s circumstances and actions. Accepting your mistakes brings you closer to change. In the same way, you must also forgive the others involved and move on without bitterness.
  • Learn from your mistakes and apply these learnings in the future. Don’t be afraid of starting over. You won’t be starting from scratch but from experience.
  • Cultivate flexible thinking. In order not to make the same mistakes again, adopt different perspectives. This means doing things differently in order to get different results. If you don’t make these kinds of changes, it’s highly likely that you’ll stay in your comfort zone. Visualize the context from another point of view. In this way, your learning will be more enriching.
  • Work on your emotional intelligence. Some of your mistakes will affect you more than others. Those that have a greater impact tend to damage your emotionality. Therefore, developing your emotional intelligence is vital so you can face and overcome the most difficult situations.
  • Seek support. Talking about your mistakes and listening to others about theirs can help you learn from them. In fact, this is a great way to change your perspective and start to do things differently.
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  • Bonet, J. V. (1997). Sé amigo de ti mismo: manual de autoestima (Vol. 36). Editorial Sal Terrae.
  • Cordero Villafáfila, A., Ramos Brieva, J. A., & Ramos Cordero, A. (2009). Frecuencia de síntomas anancásticos en la población general. In Anales de Psiquiatría (Vol. 25, No. 5, pp. 231-236).