Learn From Your Mistakes, Don’t Dwell On Them

Feeling disappointed or slightly depressed over not being able to achieve a goal or made mistakes in recovery? This isn’t all that uncommon an occurrence. Truth be told, most of us in recovery are bound to encounter these emotions at one time or another. While being temporarily disappointed is common, however, that doesn’t mean that it hurts any less. What we want to know is what we can do about it, how we can get past feeling down in the dumps about not succeeding in what we attempt. Most of all, we want to know how to keep it from happening again. Learn from what didn’t go well just as much as we learn from what we’ve done right. Why is this important? For one thing, we need to know when something doesn’t sit well with us, taking cues from our instincts as well as history. If we keep hitting our head against the wall and expect a different result, we’re likely to be disappointed. It’s far better to see that obstacle directly in our path and, instead of running smack into it, make plans in advance how to avoid it, go around it, or even to take an entirely different approach. Play to our strengths. Each of us is good at something. It’s up to us to make use of our talents and abilities. In other words, we owe it to ourselves and our recovery to make full use of our strengths. Worried that we don’t have anything worthwhile? Many in early recovery struggle with low self-esteem and seriously damaged self-confidence. Know that it will take time to discover just what our strengths are – and we do have them. Hint: If we find success in attaining a simple goal, analyze what it was about our effort that made it achievable. That’s a sign that we have some kind of ability in that area. It may be that we are doggedly tenacious, always a good thing when we’re working hard to achieve a goal. We may be able to see the big picture, another plus when it comes to analyzing complex problems or complicated issues. We cannot undo the past, so obsessing over past failures and setbacks is pointless. Ditto worrying about the future and what it may bring. All we have is now, so make sure that what we do with our time is what we really intend to do.

“You shouldn’t chase after the past or place expectations on the future. What is past is left behind. The future is as yet unreached. Whatever quality is present you clearly see right there, right there.” Majjhima Nikaya 131