Letting Go When You’ve Made a Mistake

Posted on August 28, 2012


I made a mistake today. A big one that could cost me a contract – a contract that I really want. I over-stepped my boundaries and made some assumptions I shouldn’t have. When confronted, I did take responsibility for it and I did apologize but I’m not sure it helped. Needless to say I feel pretty crappy.

It’s funny. As a therapist, I often tell my clients that when you make a mistake, what’s done is done. You can’t go back in time. You can only accept responsibility, apologize, learn from your mistake and try not to repeat it.  I often tell clients that if you take these steps there eventually comes a point when you have to say enough is enough and stop feeling bad about what you did.  There comes a point when you have to let it go. Today I discovered that this advice is easy to give and really, really hard to follow.

So now I’m sitting here, beating myself up wondering the what the ripple effects of this blunder will be. I’m hoping relatively small but you never know.  I’m trying to look at this realistically. I’m not a bad person. I usually have impeccable professional judgement and after taking responsibility, saying I’m sorry and trying to fix the damage, I can’t really do anything more.

One side of me, my supportive side, is telling me that I’m a good person. I’m smart, I usually know what I’m doing and I this mistake doesn’t define who I am. The other side, that side I wish I could get rid of hasn’t stopped kicking me yet and telling me how stupid I am.  I’m hoping my supportive side wins but truthfully, the outlook is still a bit shaky right now.

I guess it comes down to this: I didn’t mean to step on any toes, I didn’t do it maliciously, I’ve definitely learned from my mistake and I can honestly say that this will never happen again. I’m also trying to look at the bright side of what this experience has taught me. The power of forgiveness. I  hope that when someone comes to me with a mistake that they’ve made, even a colossal one, I will be able to remember this moment and give them a second chance. Because that’s all I want.

So I’m offering my apology to the Karmic Winds of Fate in hopes that it reaches the right person and they do take a moment to chalk it up to a one-time lapse in judgement. For now, I think I’ll just sit here and take a couple of deep breaths, eat a bit of chocolate (or a lot of chocolate) and try to move past this. I know. Easier said than done.

Posted in: Advice