It’s Okay if You Messed Up. You Can Be Better Next Time.

You don’t have to beat yourself up every time you screw up.

I have a fear of people finding me boring. I’m afraid that I’m not good enough for my friends or even for my family sometimes.

While there are many reasons I feel like this, the main one is that I don’t usually talk much.

Sometimes, conversations with me are more like long silences with words in between.

Unless we have an interesting conversation, or we can bounce thoughts off each other like it’s nobody’s business, I’ll keep words to myself.

I like those silences, though. They’re comfortable — at least when I’m not freaking out about what to say next because I don’t want to bore my friend.

The issue with my strange fear

Since I don’t want to seem boring, and I don’t want someone to think they’ll never hang out with me again, I’ll usually spew out anything that comes to mind.

Usually, I regret saying those sentences immediately.

They end up being gossipy, or they’ll come out judgmental even though that wasn’t my intention.

I’m so eager to fill the silence, to cover up my insecurities, that anything comes out. For hours afterward, I’d beat myself up for saying something I had no business saying.

I used to beat myself up for every little mistake

Photo by Josh Howard on Unsplash

Up until a couple of months ago, I used to beat myself up for any mistake I made. Actually, that’s a lie. I still beat myself up after screwing up.

The difference between then and now, though, is that before, the self-hating comments would go on for hours until I finally succumbed to sleep.

If I didn’t cross everything off my to-do list, I’d call myself useless. I’d say the wrong thing — nothing too big to regret as much as I did — and call myself an asshole.

No matter what I did, I gave myself too much shit for it.

Now, I can catch any one of those thoughts and squander them between two fingers before they get too big.

One day, I caught all of my negative words

I didn’t always realize I beat myself up so much. I wasn’t aware of my thoughts.

I’d curse myself out, aggressively think I had to get my shit together, and I’d even pound my forehead with my fist as if to punish myself.

I don’t know where the fuck I picked up that bad habit, but I did. The night came, though when I was treating myself like crap again, and I finally heard my words.

“You’re so fucking useless.”

There was more, but that was the worst because… I believed it. Thank the Universe though, that deep — deep — down, I knew that wasn’t true.

I’m not useless! I thought back. I made a mistake. So fucking what? I’ll just be better tomorrow.

For the second time, my words stopped me.

That was it. I could be better tomorrow. I could try again next time. That’s what tomorrow’s and next time’s are for, right? To be better than you were last time.

The idea left me, well, shook.

Over and over again, I’d beaten myself up for making a mistake, or for not having done well with something, when I could’ve kindly acknowledged I’d simply screwed up like a normal human, and I could try again tomorrow.

Change your mindset

Photo by Jack Carter on Unsplash

As I said, I still give myself some shit for messing something up, but I don’t let those thoughts control me. I catch them right away and say the words, “I’ll be better tomorrow,” or “Just be better next time.”

It instantly soothes me, and it stops the negative words in their tracks.

When you do something wrong, it’s not the end of the world. It’s not like you don’t have any chances to fix things.

You have the next day to be better than you were yesterday. You have the next opportunity to make smarter choices.

Instead of telling yourself mean words, say those words from above instead. Practice self-love and understanding.

It’s okay if you mess up. You can be better next time.

If you screwed up today, it’s okay. I’m not saying you shouldn’t apologize if you have to. I’m not saying you shouldn’t learn from your mistake, or let yourself off the hook if you did something dumb.

But you never deserve to beat yourself up for messing up. No matter how bad the mistake.

I can’t stop regret from spreading in your chest, but I can tell you that you don’t have to give yourself crap for not being flawless.

You can be better next time. You can try again tomorrow and grow from your mistakes.

You fuck up, you learn, and then you do better. That’s how it needs to go.

It shouldn’t have to go: you fuck up, you bully yourself, and then when you mess up again tomorrow, the cycle restarts.

So, please.

You don’t deserve bullying from anyone — not even yourself. Let yourself off the hook, and remind yourself you’re human. Humans aren’t perfect, and you’re going to make a hell of a lot more mistakes.

Learn to treat yourself kindly and gently. That’s what you deserve.

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