Like anyone, I have made many mistakes in my life. I’ve said dumb things, made incorrect assumptions and acted on these assumptions, and failed to love others due to my selfishness. I have regretted many of these even if they did not negatively affect me. I have since learned to stop obsessing over them, since this negative focus was not healthy.
I used to lose sleep over silly mistakes. Even something as trivial as my classmates laughing at me for saying something dumb in class was enough to keep me from enjoying my life for weeks. Even now if I think of something unloving I did the other day I’m tempted to obsess and allow my peace to be stolen.
This is not what I am made for. We are not made to obsess over our mistakes. We will undoubtably continue to make them, however, we are called to be at peace despite this, and simply try to be better.
In my spiritual growth, the Lord has poured tremendous healing on me and helped me see my identity is so much more than what I do or fail to do. I am in total agreement with the wise words of St. John Paul II when he said, “We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures, we are the sum of the Father’s love for us and our real capacity to become the image of His Son Jesus.”
This means we are not here to perform for each other. We are here to be images of God’s love for one another, to let Him shine through us, so that by simply being in each other’s presence we may know God’s love more. This will come with actions of course, but failure in these actions does not decrease our value as children of God.
God does not love us any less if we mess up, nor should we love one another less. Thus, our mistakes should not cause us to love ourselves any less. If we cannot move on from our mistakes, our lives will be robbed from us. We will not be able to have the freedom and joy we are meant to enjoy. Instead, we will merely continue a meager existence walking on eggshells in order to not upset our brittle self-esteem.
After experiencing both ways of living, I can attest that moving on from making mistakes is way better than obsessing over them. To do this, I have come up with three quick steps that can help overcome mistakes and move on in peace. These will help you have a better understanding of every of every mistake, so you don’t need to obsess anymore.
Step one. Acknowledge that you are sorry that the mistake happened. If you need to apologize to someone, this is good to do, but if you cannot or it is unnecessary, simply being sorry is enough.
Step two. Be thankful your mistake wasn’t worse than it was. It’s not making light of what happened, it is having gratitude that whatever has taken place is not as bad as it could’ve been. In truth, things can always be worse, and you are merely recognizing this. You can even thank God for His help.
Step three. Tell God you believe He can bring good out of all things. Then, ask Him to help you to see the good that He brings out of this specific situation. This will help you to avoid the death trap of viewing your mistakes as black holes only taking away from your worth. God can bring good out of any mistake in your life, allowing it to bring goodness and have a positive impact. For example, this blog post was inspired by my mistake that I alluded to earlier. In addition to the great humility caused by it, I hope this blog can bring tremendous good for others and help bring good out of my selfishness.
We do not need to lose sleep over our mistakes anymore. With these steps you can overcome the stress of making mistakes can cause and better align yourself with the words of St. John Paul II above. You are more than your mistakes and weaknesses; you are loved tremendously by your Heavenly Father. Stop obsessing over what you have done wrong and step into the freedom of Jesus.