How to Stop Dwelling on Past Mistakes


 Author:  John D. Thomas 18 August 2017 Copyright 2017

Many people (including myself) are often very hard on themselves for mistakes they've made in the past.  The mistakes made may be recent or in the distant past. Feeling regret over a past mistake is, in itself, not necessarily a bad thing. It is tangible evidence that you have a conscience. It is also strong evidence that you have the desire to make better decisions in the future. 

But there is a point where feeling intense regret over a past mistake becomes a problem. This happens when you continually and perpetually beat yourself up over a past mistake in spite of your best efforts to correct the situation and take action to prevent its recurrence.


Ask yourself these three questions: 

  1. Have you analyzed the mistake you've made and learned from this experience?
  2. Have you made a commitment to atone and make amends with anyone who may have been hurt by your mistake?
  3. Have you taken action to prevent a future recurrence of this kind of mistake?


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If you can honestly answer "Yes" to the above three questions, then it is time to forgive yourself for the mistake(s) and make a conscious decision to move on.  The reason you are still dwelling on a past mistake probably stems from feelings of personal guilt.

There is an important reason you need to forgive yourself and move forward with a clear conscience.  The Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback has found that dwelling on a failure (or a past mistake) makes a person lose concentration and develop anxiety that gets in the way of their future success. By dwelling on past mistakes, you shut off your full potential for a better future. It's like trying to swim while carrying a heavy anchor. It just can't be done. You'll sink. You need to give yourself permission to "let go". 

Are you willing to forgive yourself for past mistakes?  Are you eager to move forward with your life with a clear conscience and the determination to do better in the future?  If so, then the future can be a much brighter one for you!    


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