By Rena Greenberg
“God wants you to make mistakes so you can learn from them,”
Sidi, the Sufi Sheik from Jerusalem, explained to the crowd that had gathered to see him. “If you didn’t make mistakes, someone else would because our mistakes are a vehicle to get to the Divine.”
I always found great comfort in that teaching. It gave me hope. In exploring his words, I discovered five ways that we can learn from our own past experiences, without creating the need to repeat them.
1. Sit With the Pain
This may seem counterintuitive. When swimming in a sea of shame, guilt, and regret, the last thing you and I want to do is feel those gruesome feelings. But I have found that the only way out is through. Feel the pain, not with the intention to punish yourself, but rather to learn from it. Feel it and inquire: “What are you here to teach me?” Breathe into the pain and be gentle with yourself as you sit with and acknowledge what is there.
2. Feel Remorse for Your Actions
Remorse is very different from humiliation. It’s acknowledging that you are truly sorry for anything you did to create or exacerbate the situation that has led to the pain you are feeling. Maybe your actions only contributed to 10 percent of the issue. That’s OK. Let yourself feel sorry for the 10 percent that you had control over. Don’t focus on the 90 percent that was out of your control. Go over your thoughts, words, and actions with the intention to correct your own mistakes. Feel sorry for anything you’ve done, consciously or subconsciously, intentionally or unintentionally, to disturb the peace. Let yourself know that you are truly regretful and that you don’t want to do this again.
3. Open Your Heart
Now is the time to open your heart with kindness to yourself and anyone else involved in the situation. Imagine that you, sitting here with the pain and feeling the remorse, in this moment, are being flooded with Divine mercy and compassion. Open your feeling sense to experience this mercy and compassion for you. Right here and now, Sacred Love is washing over you. Not when you are “healed” or “forgiven,” but with this very breath, in whatever emotional state you are in, remember that you are loved, loving and lovable. Breathe in Divine mercy and forgiveness. Open to receive all the kindness in the world that is here for you now. You are worthy. It’s OK that you made this mistake. See the beauty in your courage to sit with the mistake and to feel the remorse and reward yourself by opening to Divine compassion.
4. Create a New, Positive Action
Make a decision to not repeat the mistake again. Even if the error is a habit that you’ve repeated multiple times, make a commitment to yourself that in this moment your intention is to not repeat it. Believe in your ability to change. Acknowledge yourself for going through the steps of feeling the resulting pain, experiencing deep remorse, and open to receive Divine mercy and forgiveness. Now, bow your head to your heart and ask your Wiser Self—your Higher Self—what are you being called to do? What action, if any, are you to take? What is the lesson that you are here to learn? Open to receive this guidance.
5. Imagine the New You
Tap into the vast power of your imagination and fast-forward in time to witness yourself behaving in a new way. See yourself confident, choosing completely new behaviors. Imagine yourself in the same exact situation that caused you to act in a way that later felt like a “mistake.” This time, visualize yourself behaving with integrity, kindness, peacefulness, calm resolve, strength, and courage. Even if someone else around you is reacting with negative energy and strong emotion, imagine that you are able to detach with love. Even if you, yourself, feel difficult emotions, like anger and disappointment, arising in you, imagine that you have the strength to contain them. Picture yourself containing your emotions and acting with love, wisdom, and discernment. Feel how good it feels to make empowering choices that leave you feeling strong.
“A mistake is only an error if you fail to correct it.”— John F. Kennedy.
With these five steps, you can not only correct your mistakes, but you can use them as grist for the mill to grow into the strongest, best, healthiest, and happiest version of yourself.
Rena Greenberg, a Hay House author, can be reached at EasyWillpower.com. Her weight loss and gastric bypass hypnosis success has been featured in 150-plus news stories including USA Today, Woman’s World, The Doctor’s, CNN, Good Morning America and Nightline. PBS stations nationally aired Rena’s show, “Easy Willpower,” in August 2015. Her wellness program is sponsored in 75 hospitals and 100-plus corporations. She conducts hypnotherapy sessions with people all over the world on Skype.