Making mistakes is part of life. Unfortunately, when we have depression, the negative feelings that can come with making mistakes often get amplified. It can send us into a negative spiral and make us think and believe horrible things about ourselves.
Depression can cause us to make more mistakes
Some aspects of depression can cause us to make more mistakes than we might do if we weren’t ill. Depression can make us feel incredibly tired, and affect our memory and concentration. Although we can try to manage this, there’s no escaping the fact that normal tasks and activities are so much harder when we’re in the cloud of depression. And when every day life is difficult, we’re more likely to make mistakes.
We shouldn’t be ashamed of making mistakes
When we make a mistake, the negative voice in our head can become very loud and very mean. Our eyes shoot down to the floor and we want the ground to swallow us up. We can feel as though we are drowning in shame. But making mistakes is okay and doesn’t mean that we have failed.
Mistakes are an inevitable part of life
It’s impossible to live our whole lives without ever making a mistake. There’s a saying that if we never made a mistake, we would never make anything. As much as we might try, we can’t be perfect: nobody is. So rather than trying to never make a single mistake, it can be more helpful to try and reframe mistake making in our heads a little, and see them as opportunities to learn or grow, rather than something which is embarrassing.
Mistakes can be valuable
Sometimes mistakes can teach us things that we would never have learned if we didn’t make them. It could be something about ourselves, or different ways to manage things. A mistake could result in our life going down a different path, but that could be one of the best things that ever happened to us! Making mistakes can help us to learn and grow as people. It can be hard when mistakes happen, but in the grand scheme of things they can be really worthwhile.
Mistakes can create happy accidents
Sometimes, making a mistake can result in the creation of something we never intended to make. This could be something even better than what we were trying to make, or just something completely different. Many amazing and life-changing inventions were made this way including chocolate chip cookies, penicillin, and silly putty.
Dealing with making a mistake
When we make a mistake, it can be helpful to try and stop, breathe, and take a step back. The mistakes we make every day will range in how much we feel they matter, but very few mistakes will equal the end of the world as we know it. We might be able to fix the mistake we make, or make up for it in some way, but we can’t always do that – sometimes we just have to draw a line under it and move on.
Be kind to yourself
If you do make a mistake, the most important thing is to be kind to yourself. You probably already feel awful about your error and maybe even ashamed: you don’t need to make matters worse by beating yourself up. You don’t deserve it. If a friend had made a similar mistake you’d still show them kindness – you can do the same for yourself too.
Forgive your mistakes
Though painful, mistakes are a very normal part of being human: we all muck up sometimes. What is special is the ability to show compassion to ourselves when we do make an error. As the proverb goes, “to err is human, to forgive divine” . We might not be able to forget our mistakes, but we can learn to forgive them.
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