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over 2 years Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States Story

You did it again, didn’t you? You made another mistake.

You airhead, how could you! Don’t you know any better?

                                                                                   Photo credit: life hacker

Okay, okay, I didn’t mean that, so you can stop typing at the speed of light to tell me to visit excruciatingly hot places underground.

I am guilty, however, of thinking it to myself after making an honest mistake.

Aren’t most of us?

Some of us scold ourselves over trivial matters so often that it has become an unhealthy habit. Women are especially prone to being apologetic.

Of course, it makes sense to regret intentional wrongdoing, but constantly chastising yourself for making unintentional mistakes can create unnecessary stress and a reduction in self-esteem.

Picture this common scenario:

You want to choose a nice restaurant for dinner with a few friends who have placed their trust in you for this difficult task.

You can’t think of a place, so you start Googling restaurants in your area and reading Yelp reviews.

After 30+ minutes, you finally narrow down your choices to 2 restaurants that have a 4+ star rating.

But which, oh which, do you choose?!!

Something’s telling you to go to the one with the nicer pictures, cooler name, or better location.

When you get there, though, you start identifying more with the 2.5 star review you read than with the 5 star one. Nobody at your table is happy with the food or service and you begin to feel that you ruined everyone’s night.

How could this be?

You did your research and wasted way more time than you wanted to, but where did you mess up?

The thing is, you didn’t.

You just think that you messed up, but can you really say that you’re responsible for the undercooked chicken or the inattentive service?

Of course not! You didn’t know that that would happen!

At the time you made your decision, you were completely unaware of the outcome, so you shouldn’t disparage yourself.

What are you blaming yourself for, anyway?

For being optimistic? For wanting to try something new?

Sounds a bit silly, doesn’t it?

Sometimes you just can’t predict how exactly a situation will turn out.

If that really scares you, then stock up on some snacks and movies and prepare to be a hermit for the rest of your life.

For those of you who don’t like the idea of being a hermit, I’m offering an alternative to getting mad at yourself when something goes wrong:

The next time a situation does not turn out the way you expected it to, don’t be quick to scold yourself- pause, mentally travel back in time, and review what you did and didn’t know at that moment.

What do I mean by this?

Let’s revisit the restaurant:

You and your party just placed your orders.

When your food arrives, it is partially undercooked.

First, you are upset and shocked.

Then, you start remembering that you chose this place and begin wishing that you didn’t.


Instead of boiling up and hating yourself for the decision, think back to the moment when you were deciding on a restaurant.

You had no way of predicting that the food would be undercooked.

Reviews and pictures were the only sources of information available.

The place seemed like a good choice, and you wanted to make a good choice.

You had good intentions.

So, you shouldn't blame yourself for what happened.

When you blame yourself for choosing something that had a different outcome than you expected, you’re basically blaming yourself for being optimistic.

Why punish yourself for wanting something good to happen?

Rather than beating yourself up over a situation that you couldn’t control, just try to keep it in your memory and refrain from repeating

your error.

When you make a decision about a situation that has an unpredictable outcome, you are not being foolish in any way- you’re just being human.

Nobody can blame you for that. Including you.

It's definitely beneficial to set high expectations for yourself, but if you try your best and something still goes awry, then guess what?

It's not your fault, so don’t act like it is!

                                                                            Credit: turkey glue

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Viktorya is a 24-year old coffee addict and researcher navigating life in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys art, science, yoga, and running, especially towards [...]

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