Everyone screws up. I certainly have and I’m sure you have, too. For me, it’s pretty frequent, but owning where you messed up can be really crucial to overcoming your current circumstances. We all want to be better. It’s a universal thing to want to be better, do more and excel. But there are two things that can keep you stuck in the same rut if you don’t use some self-awareness to make some serious mental changes.
Two things that will keep you stuck where you are: guilt and irresponsibility.
Let’s look at these two opposite ends of the spectrum.
Starting with guilt.
When you’re overcome with too much guilt, it can be immobilizing. You take an already crappy situation where you messed up and then stew on it so hard that you beat yourself up even more. Everyone feels pain, but you get to decide how much suffering you inflict on yourself with your attitude, outlook and thoughts.
Let’s take a common mistake people make all the time. You overspend. You’ve spent more money than you should have and now you have either a high credit card bill you are struggling to repay or a mortgage you can barely afford. The stress is intensely physical and the anxiety can cause health problems. If you want to recover or if you want to make sure you don’t do it again, it’s important to accurately assess where you are right now. No matter how bad it is, avoiding it and beating yourself up with guilt and negative self-talk keeps you from taking action. When guilt is so strong you can’t see a course of action, it’s time to change your thoughts.
Wayne Dyer says guilt is one of the two most useless emotions after worry. Neither one solves problems or focuses on results or change. So give up the guilt.
What about the other end of the spectrum though?
What if your problem isn’t that you feel guilty, but that you feel no lack of remorse at all?
Irresponsibility taken to extremes creates sociopaths. And while I’m sure you aren’t that extreme, how are you being accountable for your actions? Let’s go back to the debt example. What if you have a high balance on your credit cards from over spending, yet instead of beating yourself up with guilt, you’re blaming others and taking no responsibility. It’s your bosses fault for firing you. It’s your spouses fault because they should make more money. It’s society’s fault because the cost of living is so high these days. It’s your ex’s fault because they owe you back alimony or child support.
These are not unique thoughts or problems. I hear them all the time. Hell, I’ve even thought and verbalized them. The problem here is that ultimately, no matter what the circumstance or excuse, YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOU.
When you figure that out, you’ll be a much happier and successful person, I promise.
You are the one who chose to spend money you didn’t have and you got yourself into your debt. Blaming other, like immbobilizing guilt, deflects action and accountability. The only way forward to a brighter future and to overcome your current situation (be it financial, relationship, profession or otherwise) is for you to take accounability for where you are and then DO SOMETHING about it.
And try to make that something a positive action or plan instead of victim bitching session or opus dei self-inflicted whipping.
Walk the line between responsibility without falling into guilt. Learn from your mistakes honestly with full accountability to evolve into a better human being.
“We may have made mistakes in our past, but we’re not bound by those mistakes in the present – as long as we’re willing to think now as we did not think then, act now as we did not act then, clean up in the present what needs to be cleaned up from the past, and be now who we were not then.” – Marianne Williamson – The Law Of Divine Compensation
May you recover in a royally awesome way from your royal screw-ups of the past!
Be epic today.