I know how easy it is to fall into a spiral of beating yourself up.
One minute you’re thinking about something completely innocuous and then that will somehow trigger a memory of something you did or said that you regret, and before you know it you’re overanalyzing and replaying this situation that you can’t change even if you wanted to.
Sometimes this spiral goes on for a long time.
Sometimes it can wreck your mood and your self-esteem for the entire rest of the day.
It’s probably something you never even meant to do either, like saying something that seemed fine at the time, but, looking back on it now, 10 years later, you realize that it could have been completely misconstrued into something horrible.
That’s when the regret kicks in and it’s not fair because you didn’t even know you were making that mistake.
I fall into this trap at least several times a week when my mind is wandering and I lose my grip on things for a little while until I finally come to my senses and talk myself down.
For example, today I was happily minding my own business eating a cookie having just sat down in my recliner and I got to thinking about how I used to make cookies like this years ago.
I remembered one night specifically where I made a bunch of cookies and brought them to a dinner that my friends were having for everyone, people loved them and they all had at least one or two.
Eventually we all sat down to dinner and I was made aware that it was a vegan menu that night with several of the attendants pretty staunchly adherent to that lifestyle.
At the time I didn’t think twice about the cookies but then today, thinking about this cookie that I was eating, I pictured the butter, the eggs and the milk chocolate pieces and how those are decidedly NOT vegan.
Suffice it to say my mind went running and the guilt just completely sunk my stomach. I was fixated on the regret until finally I was able to pull myself out of the spiral by telling myself that it was ok to make mistakes and that I was just dumb when I was younger.
I also reiterated to myself that, having moved to the other side of the country, I would likely never see these people again in my entire life.
The point of all this is to illustrate that we all make dumb mistakes sometimes.
Many times we don’t even realize it until years later when we’re sitting in our recliner eating a dumb cookie.
It’s important not to beat yourself up for your past mistakes regardless of how mortifying they were.
Take a moment to treat yourself like a kid and say, “Hey Mike, it’s alright buddy, you didn’t know what you were doing and everything turned out okay didn’t it? Also that was years ago and there’s a good chance nobody remembers what happened.”
Basically, just be kind to yourself.
We all screw up and it’s perfectly ok to do that. We are human after all.
Whatever happened is long gone and probably didn’t matter all that much anyway.
You’re good. don’t worry.