Why simply ‘getting over it’ may not be the best course of action when it comes to moving beyond our mistakes
My mom used to say this. One of her strengths was moving on, always looking towards the future and leaving the past where it belongs, in the past. For the purpose of this conversation, I am speaking about moving on when we make mistakes in life.
If I am to be honest, when she would say this to me as a child, it was confusing. I remember feeling lost that I did not know how to move forward and sometimes mad because I did not want to move forward. I wanted to let my feelings out, yell and scream or cry. Why would these three simple words, get over it, be so confusing?
As I grew up, I learned that she did not mean ‘get over it’ as if in one second that mistake could be erased and I would never think of it again. Neither was she saying not to let my emotions show, although I was a bit of a drama queen. It was her way of saying, “find a way to move forward, learn and forgive yourself.”
And, taking mom’s wise advice…I have found a way to move to that point where I can move forward without dwelling too long on the past, on the mistake. First is coming to the understanding that none of us are perfect. In fact, embracing our imperfect nature is part of what makes this journey of life so very interesting, and it is what allows for real growth.
Going back to the little kid in me, the confused kid that wanted a path to ‘get over it,’ below are six specific steps you can use and share as a gift with someone in your life as they work to ‘get over it.’
1. OWN IT: Own your mistake; accept it as yours and nobody else’s. No excuses allowed. Doing an interview recently, the interviewer asked me about what I thought of the wonderful State he lived in. Going on and on, I discussed the marvels of the great state of Utah. He politely reminded me, mid-sentence, that he lives in Idaho. Embarrassing! Never fully recovering during the interview, it was a very poor performance on my part. I could have kept reliving that over and over again but instead I went on to follow the rest of the steps to moving on.
2. WHY DID IT HAPPEN? It’s important to ask why the mistake occurred but not to beat yourself up over it. Sometimes there is no why, it just…happened. However, sometimes there is a why that we can learn from. In my interview example, the reason I did not give the amazing interviewer my best, was because I was not prepared and he deserved a prepared expert.
3. CAN I FIX IT? While we can’t exactly ‘fix’ our mistakes in the sense of making them go away as if they never happened, we can do things to mitigate the damage or to smooth things over. An authentic, “I’m sorry” works wonders!
4. NOW WHAT? Is there a logical next step? For me, a handwritten note was in order.
5. WHAT ABOUT NEXT TIME? This is where the magic happens. This is why ‘mistakes’ are a jewel in our life’s journey. While it’s not advisable to dwell on this for too long, do reflect on what you might do differently next time. This so called ‘mistake’ happened for a reason. It has a beautiful lesson to teach you. Mine was to be more prepared next time.
Now we can move on. Time to put the situation in the rear-view mirror. Time to let the past be the past. Time to move into an amazing future…. or as mom would say, time to “get over it.”
How do you move past mistakes? I would be very interested in what life has taught you! Also, if you have any suggestions on content for future blogs, I’m all ears!
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Author, Consultant & Business Expert
Connecting Families-Celebrating Children-Changing Companies
Lisa Baker-King is a nationally recognized and televised author, consultant and coach who is creating a movement to break the rules and celebrating what is RIGHT about us. She is passionate about helping families; organizations and small business owners find and pursue their passions with purpose. With over 20 years coaching small business owners, families, educators and children; Lisa is certified coach, specializing in KolbeTM. Kolbe is the science of human actions, reactions and interactions. It’s the instincts that drive individual and group behaviors personally and professionally.