If you are reading this article it is because you read the title and thought, “I did that,” or maybe you’re bored and want something interesting to read. Regardless, maybe you and I can learn something. We all regret the mistakes we make, especially when they hurt the ones we love. I made a mistake that I regret and am now facing the consequences. You may be in a similar situation and, just like me, you are trying to figure out what to do.

The first step is accepting the situation. As much as we wish, we cannot turn back the clock and wish the situation never happened. It happened, and now we must deal with it. While it sounds simple, we often find ourselves looking back and thinking, “What if I did this differently?” However, thinking this way is a waste of our brain power and will only lead to the creation of alternate realities that will never happen. Instead let’s focus on the positive and think about what we learned from the situation. We must attempt to rise above the situation and think of what we can do differently next time.

Too often we beat ourselves up over a mistake. We ponder upon the mistake, let it fester and allow it to ingrain itself into our psyche. This is not healthy and will do nothing but lead to negative feelings and create negative habits. This could fall between sitting in class and running the scenario over in your head on one end of the spectrum, and drinking on the other.

Dwelling on the past does nothing. I’m not saying we must forget the whole situation ever happened, but we cannot let the situation consume us. We have a whole life to live, and we must allow ourselves to move on. Once we do this, we can begin learning from our mistakes.

If you make a mistake, big or small, and say you learned nothing from the situation then you are a fool. This may sound harsh, but that’s because it needs to be said. Life is about growing and learning, and we learn the most from our mistakes.

Continuing the same behavior or action after a mistake means you didn’t learn. We must instead adapt ourselves to become better than the person we were before the situation occurred and try to do better in the future. Grow from the experience in the hopes you will not make the same mistake again.

Every situation is different and requires different levels of attention. What I offer is simply a way to allow ourselves to grow as individuals from our mistakes. All I offer is what we learned together in this article. That we must accept and learn. It is only once you become at peace with yourself that you can begin the process of mending the rift between yourself and others. I cannot promise that rift will be mended, as so far mine has not, but it is my honest hope that you have better luck.

I leave you with this quote by Marcus Aurelius, “Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart.”

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