I can’t say I’m very good at leaving things in the past. I still cringe thinking about events that happened 10 years ago. Whether it’s something I said, an awkward fall or something I can’t even remember.
This is something I’m trying to get better at and trying to learn to improve on. Things are in the past for a reason, and you’ve got to keep moving forward.
So if like me, you feel a sense of dread when thinking of minor cringe-worthy moments or mistakes that you made a number of years or even a few months ago, then I’m going to give you some words of wisdom to switch your thinking.
Mistakes we’ve made
Making mistakes is human. It’s a part of life and a rite of passage. You’re never going to make your way through life without making a few errors here and there. Whether that’s in your job, your love life or your personal life.
We’re all human and every single one of us will mess up at some point. That’s something we’ve got to accept and realise that it’s inevitable.
Once you’ve come to terms with knowing that you’re not an anomaly or a failure because you’ve made a mistake, then you’ll feel a lot better when you do make a mistake.
There are many famous and successful people that are happy to list their mistakes publicly and will often say that they’re a better person because of these mistakes.
Making mistakes will always teach you a lesson. Perhaps it’s the lesson of knowing not to do that again, realising how to improve something, or being able to say ‘ok, that didn’t work, so what can I do differently?’
In those instances, maybe it’s a good thing to remember your mistakes and realise how far you’ve come. Or it’s a good thing to think about them so you know not to make the same mistake again.
The fear after a night out
But then there are the things that you never want to think about again and are very happy to leave it in the past.
Like things you say or do when under the influence of alcohol. We’ve all been there, right? You go on a boozy night out with your friends and then suddenly it’s the next morning and you wake up in bed, hungover and not knowing how you got there.
Then the memories start to come back and you immediately cringe at the things you said, the people you spoke to and perhaps the huge fall you had on the middle of the dance-floor.
That punch in the stomach that sits like a giant weight at all of those realisations and flashbacks – the fear.
Again, it should make you feel better that we’ve all been there. Every last one of us. We’ve all embarrassed ourselves on a night out, so you’re not the only one in this situation. Plus, if it’s something minor like being that annoying drunk that won’t shut up, everyone will have forgotten about it the following week.
So leave those things and ‘the fear’ in the past.
Thinking ahead a few months and years
Think of something that you’re worried about. Or perhaps an error that you made in work recently. Now think forward to you, five years in the future. Will that you be thinking of this mistake five years from now? Will that future you be worrying about this minor inconvenience?
If the answer is no, then there’s no point worrying about it or overthinking it right now.
Don’t waste time worrying about things that you have no control over. That’s probably one of the best pieces of advice I’ve heard in my 26 years of life.
It was especially useful when it came to exams. I could have an exam in May and have to wait three months for the results. I could spend those three months fretting about my score and answers or I could forget about it once I came out of the exam hall, since none of my thoughts and worries were going to change my score.
Realising it doesn’t matter anymore
The things I’ve talked about above are quite minor, but of course there are going to be more serious mistakes and errors that you make in your lifetime that will be harder to forget or leave in the past.
Like I said at the start of this article, it’s something I’m still trying to learn and put into practice myself.
There are things that I’ve done or said in the past that I regret and I still cringe about now, but I quickly remind myself that these things happened almost ten years ago now and it’s simply time to move on.
The past is in the past and that’s where it stays.