Have you ever been in a situation where you felt like you had made such a big mistake you couldn’t forgive yourself for it? Have you been in a position where you have made the same mistake over and over and over again and can’t figure it out? I can definitely relate to both of those.
A Huge Blowout
There was one particular time I was dealing with my son and things were not going well. He had a way of being defiant and finding just the right ways to try to antagonize me, which always left me stumped. Did I react to what he was doing, which was what he was going for, and punish him? Or did I find a way to be non-reactive?
I’ve tried many things over the years and I’ve had moderate success with everything but it’s always been very difficult. Having different parenting styles in two different homes did not make it easier.
On this particular day, it just continued to escalate. He was ready to have an all out brawl. Any approach I took, he was ready. From the get-go, everything he did was negative or hurtful in some way. There was something that was causing him to confront.
I ended up blowing up. I ended up yelling. We were yelling at each other, and it was a complete and utter epic failure. Afterward I felt like the worst dad in the world and a miserable loser. I was angry at myself and frustrated and couldn’t believe I would act like that. I was hurt that I would hurt somebody I really cared about by yelling. Any way I sliced it, I felt that I was nothing but a huge mistake.
A Better Way
Sometimes things just don’t work like you expect them to. Sometimes, no matter how well you can do at certain things, you may not do so well at other things. They can even be very similar things. I have two kids I relate to very well and a third one I swear I can’t figure out the best way to relate to him.
So what do you do when you feel like you have made a giant mistake and you just don’t know how to deal with it? I’m no expert. I’m no psychologist. I’m just a person who has made many mistakes. If you want somebody that knows how to do something, find someone that has done it a lot of times.
- Step away. The First thing you want to do is step away. If you can do this before it even happens, even better. If you have a friend or family member you can rely on, get hold of them before it becomes a huge mistake. If it has already happened, once again step away. Pull yourself out of the situation. Take time to breathe. Do something to get your mind focused on other things.
- Try to refocus. Try to find something better to think about. Find something that will get your attention and get you focused on better things.
- Plan ahead. If this is something that may reoccur, then think it over for next time. What could you have done differently? What other steps could you have taken? How could you have worked in a different way? How could you think about what other approaches you could take if this ever comes back again.
- Forgive yourself. If you are anything like me, this seems like an impossible request. I don’t know if this is common but I’ve held onto stuff that is thirty years old. And as I try my best, I can’t let it go. But if you can, definitely realize we are all human. We all make mistakes. And to a large degree we are products of things beyond our control. If you were a perfect person that could do things perfectly, why in the world would you be reading this article?
I hope that whatever situation you find yourself in, you find a way to improve it and yourself. Be kind to yourself and realize, you’re only human. It’s okay to make mistakes. It’s even better if you can find the best way to deal with them, even the gigantic ones.