OK, maybe the title of this post is a little harsh, but I mean it! Stop wallowing in your mistakes. We all make them; not one of us is immune to screwing up. But your mistakes do not define you. It’s the steps you take after you make a mistake that say a lot about your character.

It really all comes down to accountability. That usually means being honest about what led to the mistake, fixing it, learning from it, and moving on. It’s that last part — moving on — that many of us struggle with. No one likes to be wrong! But I’m going to tell you exactly why you need to let your mistakes go, once you’ve accepted accountability and righted any wrongs. You’ll thank me for it later, promise.

You are not perfect.

You know that perfection is unattainable, right? Then stop striving for it! I may know better than anyone how hard it can be to accept a less than perfect result. I am your typical Type-A, and I’m as hard on myself as anyone could be.

Want to know how I get over it when I mess up? I do everything I can to fix the situation, pick one lesson to take with me, then I force myself to move on. I would be willing to bet that no one cares as much about your mistakes as you do. And once you let go of some of that self-imposed pressure of being perfect, you may be surprised how free you feel.

You have done so much right.

One very effective, albeit challenging, way to get over your mistakes is to think about some of the things you’ve done well. When was the last time you took a few minutes to look at how far you’ve come? Your past successes can not only help you put your mistakes in perspective, but they can be humbling as well.

We all tend to forget how fortunate we are in life sometimes, especially when facing challenges on a daily basis. Mistakes are a great opportunity to take a realistic look at everything you have and simply be thankful for it.

You have free will.

Some mistakes occur when we don’t listen to the advice of others, or just ignore that little voice speaking in the back of our minds that always seems to know better. The thing is, you have free will and that means you are responsible for every single decision you make.

While some mistakes could certainly be avoided, consider that the ability to make the decision on your own, even when the outcome sucks, is well worth the freedom you have to make any decision you want, at any time. Celebrate it.

You’re a risk taker.

Making a mistake says there is an area in your life where you need to improve. And improvement can’t come unless you’re willing to risk making the same mistake again. This cycle of mistakes, learning and trying again is what it’s all about. This quote sums it up perfectly, I think.

How do you get over it when you mess up? What do you do to make sure your mistakes don’t consume you?