You are Not Your Mistakes! Here’s How to Stop Dwelling on Your Mistakes

Last Update on January 16, 2024 : Published on September 24, 2021
Stop dwelling on your mistakes

You are not your mistakes! 

Always remember that. We have all been there and our mistakes have haunted us for years. Wouldn’t it be nice to stop worrying about something that happened in the past? There’s no way we can change what happened, all we can change is the way we look at it now.

Does it make sense? See, we are human and we ought to make mistakes. No one is perfect or perhaps being imperfect is perfect because being imperfect is being human. You didn’t make a mistake knowing that you’ll be doomed!

Most things that we do always have an honest intention behind it. The execution can be faulty and that’s how you end up with a mistake. I have made a lot of mistakes in life and so have you. Tell me honestly how many hours have you spent dwelling on your mistakes? I have spent years doing that and trust me it will do you no good.

Also read: 35+ Invaluable Lessons To Learn From The Mistakes

I understand what you must be going through. To ease your worry and anxiety about your mistakes in the past, I have something for you…

How to Stop Dwelling on Your Mistakes?

You know it in your heart that you are overthinking your mistakes. Even though you aren’t sharing your thoughts and feelings with anyone, it will still show in your behavior. And that’s not good. Feeling miserable and not being able to do anything is not good.

It’s time we stop dwelling on our mistakes and make amends. Here’s what you can do to stop the worry and anxiety you have about your mistakes. Rumination is not your friend, try these steps to avoid obsessing over your mistakes:

1. Learn from your mistakes

You are not your mistakes and I think I have written this several times. That’s because I mean it! Make a psychological distance between you and your mistakes.

It is something that you did, realized that it was wrong, and won’t repeat it again. It ends there, don’t drag it along with you. Learn to forgive yourself. Once you do that the triggers won’t trouble you as much. Instead of dwelling, channel your energy into self-learning from the mistakes you might have made in the past.

Understand what went wrong, learn from the roots, and reflect on a positive approach to transform yourself towards improvement and growth. 

2. Set Realistic Expectations

Chronic perfectionism can be toxic; however, healthy striving can be a good tool to stop dwelling on your mistakes and set realistic and achievable goals for yourself. Healthy striving takes you on a positive journey which helps in embracing a growth mindset as well. Additionally, healthy striving helps in avoiding “all-or-nothing” thinking and helps shift your focus to healthy things. 

3. Maintain a Journal Regularly and Control your Thoughts

Practice maintaining a journal regularly, documenting your mistakes, tracking your progress, noting down the lessons you have learned from your mistakes, and taking action accordingly. Journaling is known to be one of the best therapeutic tools to free yourself from past mistakes. Additionally, Our thoughts can go out of control easily.

Therefore, keeping a check on what we think and feel is a good option. Let your thoughts and feelings flow in naturally but keep looking for errors or cognitive distortions. Because if there is an error you have to correct it right? Keep a check on yourself so that there is no further damage.

4. Practice Self-Compassion

Be kind to yourself and others. avoid self-criticism, self-judgment, and negative self-talk to put yourself on the journey of self-healing. Work on your self-worth, learn from your mistakes, and practice self-compassion to understand what’s controllable and what’s not. 

5. Practice Mindfulness

If you really want to stop dwelling on your past, you must try shifting your focus to the present with the help of mindfulness tools. Try to learn from your mistakes, set goals accordingly, and prepare yourself for future challenges. 

6. Seek Regular Feedback and Support

Seek out regular feedback and support from your mentors or loved ones. You can discuss your issues, past mistakes, concerns related to goals, or your challenges to regain valuable insights. 

7. Distinguish between rumination and problem-solving

Both rumination and problem-solving involve thinking about the mistake. What you have to do here is to shift from problematic overthinking to problem-solving thinking.

Rumination involves a lot of blaming and shaming and that’s what you don’t have to do. Think of it as an opportunity to learn from your mistakes. After making a mistake you at least know what you don’t have to do.

That’s one step towards progress. Now you can focus on other ways you can tackle a particular situation.

8. Train your brain

I know it’s easier said than done and that’s why we need to train our brain. It’s our brain that needs direction more than we do sometimes. Train your brain in a way that you are more self-aware.

Practicing mindfulness techniques can be really helpful in doing so. Get control over your thoughts and find a healthier way to release your stress and worry.

9. Identify your triggers

Since you have made mistakes in the past it’s natural for you to remember them time and again. If that recollection is upsetting your mind, try avoiding it. Now, it’s obvious that your present life triggers the memory of your mistake.

So, begin with identifying those triggers. What is it that is reminding you of those days? It depends on what mistake you made. Whether it is related to finance or your relationship, anything that is related to your mistake can be your trigger.


Making mistakes is human! Try not to beat yourself up on that. The above-stated steps can help you in reducing the worry and anxiety you might have regarding your mistakes.

Dwelling on to your mistakes will only make things worse. You can’t do anything about the mistake, it’s in the past. But you can do something for your mental peace. Try following these steps to stop that continuous obsession.

Take my word on this, try them out and let me know in the comment section whether it helped you or not. If you see a friend or family member suffering through something similar, share this blog with them.

I hope I am able to help you stop dwelling on your mistakes through this blog.

Thanks for reading!

Take care and stay safe!

About The Author

Kirti Bhati
Kirti Bhati

I am an English literature (major) and psychology (minor) graduate from St. Bede’s College, Shimla. Postgraduate in Clinical psychology from IIS University, Jaipur. She has published a Research paper on Music therapy in the military population and Workplace stress in a national seminar conducted by Fortis hospital (gurugram) and international seminar conducted by St. Bede’s College, Shimla, Respectively. Authored a dissertation work on ‘effect of social media addiction on the mental and physical well-being in adolescents’ Currently working at calm sage as a writer.

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