Everyone makes mistakes. It’s just what happens when we’re all going through life without a playbook and trying to figure it all out. What we do after the mistake is made is what defines our future. How we treat ourselves after making a mistake is what exemplifies our self worth, what we really think of ourselves. Unfortunately, we are our harshest critics so letting go of the stigma left by a mistake is often very difficult.
When I made that $5,000 error in my student housing, of course I blamed myself and thought “How could I be so stupid? Now I’m stuck with two signed contracts for places that I’m going to live. This is ridiculous. I’m never going to be able to pay that off.” While this wasn’t true, it absolutely felt like it at the time. I did pay it off and more importantly, I learned a very valuable, and costly lesson, on reading contracts and being more aware.
Of most dreadful suffering, I am the cause.Euripides, Electra
In truth, up until recently, I still held a lot of guilt for this and other mistakes that I’ve made, financial and otherwise. It has left me feeling empty and without direction. In these moments, the best method that I’ve found is to pause, take a deep breath and remember:
We are where we are and all that we can do is move forward from here. No shame. No blame.
Your New Financial Life
Step One in your path to a new financial life is to deep dive into where you are with your money right now. Do you have 20 creditors that you owe? Are you behind on the mortgage or utility bills? Of course, I would hope not, but if you are that is something that you NEED to know.
The path to financial security and freedom is not one that has room for blame. Accept that what was done in the past is already over and take steps to get yourself on a new and better path today.
If you have a hard time giving your past self a break for the financial milk that’s already been spilled, try this: What would you say to your best friend or close relative in this case? If you wouldn’t harp on them for a mistake they’ve recognized and are now actively trying to fix, why would you do it to yourself?
What mistakes have you made? Have you been able to move on and let go? How did you do it? Let me know in the comments below!