How to Stop Dwelling on a Mistake You’ve Made

If you’re someone that grew up in a household where mistakes weren’t allowed, or are someone who is used to being chastized and reprimanded for mistakes, then you may have a hard time with not dwelling on- or internalizing- your mistakes. If you’re like me, some mistakes you make hit differently. Some mistakes feel like they seep down into your soul and into the essence of who you are– defining you and causing you to ruminate longer than needed. All theatrics involved.

Whether it’s due to embarassment, shame, or remorse, certain mistakes just get to us more than others. For me, it’s the big ones I make that I have an audience for. For me, there’s nothing worse than making a big mistake and having people be front-row-and-center for it.

So I’m going to give you my 2-step process to help you stop dwelling on a mistake you’ve made.

1. Acknowledge that it happened

Most of the time when we make mistakes, we feel things like embarrasment, remorse, inaffectiveness, or shame. Some of us even internalize the mistake and start feeling bad about ourselves. Whether it’s because we feel inadequate, judged, or whatever the feeling is- when we make a mistake that people know about, sometimes we tend to dwell on the mistake longer.

Now, I personally don’t know anyone that enjoys sitting in those lower energy feelings, so, we find ways to cope.

One of the most common things people do when they make a mistake is try to pretend like it didn’t happen– even though it’s all they can think about.

Instead of trying to pretend that it didn’t happen, acknowledge that it did, and tell yourself “it’s okay”.

Two of the reasons people are still ‘stuck’ in a mistake are because they:

1: haven’t yet allowed themselves to feel everything that they are feeling and

2: haven’t given themselves grace and told themselves that it is okay to feel the way that they feel.

Most of us try to be ‘strong’ and fight against the feelings we naturally have about what happened. When we do that, we add to the ‘negative’ feelings we already have. Subconsciously we are minimizing our own feelings and aren’t accepting ourselves. We end up treating ourselves the way we view other people to be treating us because of the mistake.

Take inventory of how you’re feeling, then ask yourself why you feel that way.

What’s your answer?

Acknowledge your feelings, allow yourself to fully feel and process them, and tell yourself “it’s okay”.

2. Forgive yourself

What does saying “it’s okay” do? It lets your subconscious stop tormenting you with replays of the event.

I know forgiving yourself is easier said and done but I implore you to find ways to help you do so.

How to forgive yourself:

1: talk to other people who have made the same mistake. This helps you realize that you are not alone and that these things happen to other people as well. It may make you feel better to hear other people’s stories so that you can stop beating yourself up so much.

2: gameplan healthy and productive ways to not end back up in this sitiation. One way to feel hopeful about the future is to make a plan. After all, if the same mistake keeps happening over and over again, it’s no longer a mistake. So, making a plan not only boosts your confidence in yourself but relieves any anxiety about getting the same result you got last time.

3: similiar to number 2- commit to doing better. Once you’ve allowed yourself to feel all the feels, it’s easier to forgive yourself and start looking ahead. What can you do better next time?


Remember this, you deserve peace of mind. You don’t have to dwell on mistakes, because they are just that: mistakes. Allow yourself to feels aaaaaallllll the feels, forgive yourself, and release that thang!

If you need more help or want to know the how behind the what, check out the resources below!

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