Dwelling on past mistakes

schoolbelleJune 17, 2009

I think I'm a relatively stable person, but I have issues with letting go of (relatively minor) mistakes or near mishaps. For instance, today I had a lane change near-mishap which would have been my fault and now the mental tape has begun to play "How could you do that?", "How could you be so stupid", etc. It drags me down and I just can't shake the negative self-criticism in situations that others seem to take in stride.

Actually, when I think about it, most of my self-criticism happens mainly in two situations. Social situations where I've said something or done something which usually is minor but which I blow completely out of proportion. And behind the wheel, where I feel like a timid little old lady among the fast and sometimes aggressive pack. (Lest you think I'm a horrible driver, I've been driving for 40 years with no citations or accidents).

How do I go about shutting this down and living with more peace with my (perceived) shortcomings?

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Everybody berates themselves for things they have done or said that they regret. What I do when I get that little uneasy feeling that usually begins a session of reliving an embarassing moment or event that I wish had not happened, I immediately force myself to "change the subject". Much as you would do if involved in a conversation with someone else that made you uncomfortable. Every time you feel that niggling little feeling "change the subject." It gets easier with time.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 7:37PM
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pris hit the nail on the head. This is a common, human reaction to unpleasant happenings. It's also a way of learning to do better. Sometimes it works, and the situations get better, and sometimes, nothing seems to sink in and the person just keeps making the same dumb errors.

I actually dream about dumb things that I have done. I still put my foot in my mouth and make stupid, uncalled remarks.

What I am saying is there is no point in fretting about it. I agree with Pris. Think about something else. Get busy doing something, even if it's just working a crossword puzzle or watching TV. Your course of action is the only way you can stop negative thoughts. Replace them with something else.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 9:53AM
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You've gotten good advice above. Everyone makes mistakes or does or says things they wish they had done differently. Just consider it a little lesson, a reminder, and busy yourself with something else you like to do. Walk, garden, listen to music, clean a drawer, etc. Don't let the issue overwhelm you. You are only human like the rest of us! :-)

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 10:44AM
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