Have you never made a mistake? Just what I thought. We're human and we all make them, big, small, by omission, intentionally or by accident, through carelessness or deliberately. They're all there.
How many of you tend to revisit that mistake in your mind? Cringing and berating yourself, wondering how you could have been so stupid?
I made one last week - a costly one. My intention was to take initiative and take care of something myself - well, this is one time it backfired. What has been interesting is the tendency to think about it and beat myself up over it. Something I've done my entire life - I would go on "paying" for weeks, sometimes months. That kind of thinking is a habit that grew. It was well-tended, after all! But, I now recognize that it was non-resourceful.
Somehow, we think that by constantly "chewing" on the error, we're doing something about it. Unfortunately, it's an emphatic "No!" Each time we revisit the problem our body goes through a process which causes further damage to our health and sense of well-being.
What's done is done - we can take action to correct the error and then ask what we have learned and hopefully, apply it in the next situation and not have to re-learn that lesson.
Old habits die hard, especially if your normal modus operandi is to beat yourself up. Try this: Next time you make a mistake, change that word to feedback. Before reading on, sit for a moment and reflect upon that word...what is different? Are you breathing differently? Do you want to get up and walk away? Calmer? Just notice how you feel.
Awareness is the first step. Then comes replacement. What if you could replace that worry with a more resourceful behaviour? What would that feel like? Some people find a greater sense of peace while others have more energy. The key is to have an alternate behaviour to fill the void of the one you're replacing. Nature doesn't like a vacuum!
Fortunately, I have techniques to implement as soon as I catch myself doing that kind of stinking thinking. In addition to having a replacement behaviour, the side-effects from those damaging stress hormones are also minimized.