Coping with Imperfection: Accepting Your Mistakes

There is no such thing as a perfect person. To be human is to be imperfect, to be imperfect means we make mistakes and to make mistakes means we have regrets. Regret is the wish that things were other than they are. But they aren’t. This thing happened, and it’s regrettable.

You, like all humans, are born lovable and worthwhile. You, like all humans will never be worth more or worth less. You, like all humans will never be superior or inferior. No matter how much money, status or power you have, you will never be a better person.

No matter how little appreciation, respect or comfort you have, you will never be a worse person. Your success and achievements do not make you a more loveable human. Your failures and losses do not make you a less lovable person. You are always going to be good enough. If you accept that you are unconditionally worthwhile and lovable, it is not necessary to believe or rely on other people to tell you that you are wonderful.

Below are some ways you can begin to trust your judgment:

• You can remind yourself that “imperfect judgment, a mistake, is not the end of the world. You have made many good decisions and have made mistakes before. You are more than the sum of your success and mistakes. Your performance will vary from day to day, hour to hour and you can separate your performance from who you are as a human. You are not worthless even if make mistake. Doing badly never makes you a bad person — only imperfect. You have a right to be wrong. You can separate the rating of your behavior from the rating of yourself. You have put up with disappointments all your life; you can tolerate this one too. Not getting your way is disappointing and inconvenient, which you deal with on a daily basis, In order to achieve pleasant results, you often have to do unpleasant things. Yes, it is a pain to do this now, but it will be much harder if you do it later.”

• Give yourself credit for making successful judgments in the past. You can build on your past successes. Your mind may be quick to criticize your mistakes, but very slow to validate your success. If you cannot acknowledge your own achievements, you look to others for approval. This means you give control over what is a success, control over your self worth, over your confidence to other people. When you look to others for approval, they control your confidence. You cannot build on you success and develop confidence. Instead, you can choose to say, “I did that. I got it done and I made it happen.” That is not conceit, it is not “smug self satisfaction.” It is confidence. It is validating your efforts to face a difficulty and get through it the best you can.

• You can replace your self-critical thoughts with more realistic ones, such as: “My judgment is good enough that I got though this. I did the best I could with the information I had at the time. My mistakes only prove that I am an imperfect human. I am loveable and worthwhile regardless of the outcome. It would be nice if others recognized my efforts. But that is only a preference.”

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Shared by: Aaron Karmin, LCPC, Contributing Blogger

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