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What To Do When You Make Mistakes

shrug1The first step is to realize humans are mistake-making machines. This is merely a fact that has nothing to do with self-esteem.

Both high and low self-esteem individuals make similar mistakes.

Those with low self-esteem tend to self-criticize when they make mistakes. Higher self-esteem folks tend to accept mistakes as part of life.

So, don’t self-criticize, if you can help it. We’re all human…and that’s that.

If you cannot help but criticize yourself, then you should look into self-sabotage and negative psychological attachment. This free video is a good place to start.

Next, what impact do mistakes have on relationships?

I submit that mistakes can bring you closer to others and keep you from distancing yourself. I recently wrote on my FB page:

When confronted with a mistake, a disrespectful behavior, a lie….my most effective and healthy response is to collapse into it and confess, holding nothing back.

This leaves me with the full consequences of my behavior and at the mercy of the offended party. I can think of no better way to be. When I do the opposite, get defensive and blame, it only leads to more stress and distance between myself and others.

I’m fortunate to have people in my life who are compassionate enough to give me a break when I’m honest. I try to do the same in return. This is how healthy relationships work!

I am capable of misbehaving, so why prolong the agony by denying the truth? Of course, I’ve learned this through numerous attempts at denial and blame…

You can’t be close to people to whom you are lying, blaming, and scapegoating….

You want people to see your humanity when you mess up. Taking responsibility and admitting the mistake is the way to invite others to do just that. When you’re open this way, you are more likely to see the humanity of others as well.

Of course, some mistakes are deal breakers. Still, acknowledging our common, imperfect humanity only helps. Deal breakers are deal breakers. Only you can be the judge when this is the case.

What to do when you don’t have compassionate people in your life?

Practice compassion yourself. This is the only sure way to invite others to be more compassionate. You may live with impossible people, mean-spirited and unforgiving. Yet, are you impossible for them as well?

I can’t think of anything I can do to increase the compassion of others in my life that works better than increasing my own compassion toward them.

What To Do When You Make Mistakes

Mike Bundrant

Mike Bundrant is the author of Your Achilles Eel: Discover and Overcome the Hidden Cause of Negative Emotions, Bad Decisions and Self-Sabotage and co-founder at The iNLP Center which offers online certification in Neuro-Linguistic Programming and life coaching.

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APA Reference
Bundrant, M. (2016). What To Do When You Make Mistakes. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 30, 2020, from


Last updated: 13 Oct 2016
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