There’s something very freeing in honest transparency. Once you own a mistake, you’re able to let go of the guilt or shame associated with it and begin the process of learning from your mistake and moving beyond it. Of course this isn’t always easy. Especially when your mistake may have hurt others or made you feel weak in the process. But by incorporating into your mindfulness journey a few exercises that help liberate you from the burden associated with past mistakes, you will be healthier and happier in the long run.
Here are a few ways to begin.
- Move Ego Aside. Ego is a huge factor standing in the way of owning mistakes. Think about it. If we admit we made a mistake it might feel as if we’re shouting to the world “I’m weak.” Actually, it is more like saying “I’m strong.” In a society that is constantly judging us both on our outside appearance and the story we portray, we feel compelled, more like pressured, to appear perfect in every way. But this is contrary to mindfulness. If we are accepting of ourselves, warts and all, then we are more likely to be accepting of others.
- Admit Your Mistake. There’s something to be said about saying aloud “I made a mistake.” It’s like ripping off a band aid. It may feel uncomfortable in the moment but soon after you’ll feel a weight lifted. If we’re honest with ourselves, we all have past infractions that we’ve never quite resolved the way that we’d hoped and these emotional scars are heavy burdens to carry and create triggers of pain throughout life. When the opportunity for liberation presents itself, it’s a gift. Address the mistake with whomever may be affected. Taking the brunt of what endures after will be a whole lot easier to navigate in the long run because you’ve brought the hurt to the surface, worked through the situation and are now able to let it go.
- Model True Mindfulness. Being aware is the root of your mindfulness journey and this begins with self-awareness. One of the challenges we face as humans is being faced with negative feedback and constructive criticism. It’s never easy to have our frailties and weaknesses pointed out. But cultivating the practice of self-awareness helps us thoughtfully manage our weaknesses so we curtail making future mistakes. Being aware of our surroundings, including others we interact with, is the next step of being aware. As we become more aware of others and appreciate our interactions with them we are also more likely to model mindfulness and graciously accept their mistakes, too.
- Enjoy Renewed Health. Stress reduction is a beautiful gift that comes from embracing a mindfulness practice. When you’re able to liberate yourself from the emotional burden of not accepting and learning from your mistakes you will also free yourself from the associated stressors. Experimenting with releasing the tangle of uncertainty, guilt and shame only enhances your practice of mindfulness. It will slow the frenzy of uncertainty, invite peace and stillness of mind and help you become more resilient while repelling the diseases associated with stress. When opening the door to a more mindful way of life, you begin to let go of what you cannot control while discovering new ways to liberate yourself from past hurts and mistakes.
Kim Monaghan, PCC, RYT, CPBS is the owner of KBM Coaching & Consulting LLC, a boutique Human Resources Consulting and Career Coaching Firm serving a national clientele.