I was surprised to see zero results when I googled “How to accept you fucked up”. Not a single search result.
So as a sort of self-therapy, I thought, ‘Hell, I’ll just write one myself.’ Here goes.
Hindsight is a b*tch
There’s nothing you could have done differently. It’s easy to say, I would have done this or that – but ‘would have’ is entirely different to ‘could have’. Sure, there’s a million things you would have changed – had you known. But given the same circumstances and what you knew, you have to acknowledge that there’s nothing you could have changed because there was nothing more you could have known at the time.
You only have yourself to blame
Not your boss, not your colleague. You and only you.
If you’re anything like me, it’ll give you some repose to know that it wasn’t someone else’s fuck up that cost you dearly. Yes, that only leaves you with yourself to blame, but for me that’s far better than being left thinking ‘I would have done a better job / I wouldn’t have made that mistake / I should have done it myself.’
Better now than later
I know it doesn’t seem like it matters now, but we will learn from this mistake. We will learn what we should have done and we’ll bank it in the memory store for later use.
Next time a similar scenario comes up, we’ll remember that god-awful time we fucked up and draw on the lesson we could never forget. We’ll actually be thankful to have had that first fuck up, because later down the line, the stakes will be higher and we’ll be glad not to risk learning on that one.
Be grateful for your shit heap
We can speculate all we like about possible scenarios. But the truth is, if you went back and changed what you messed up – armed with hindsight and all – there is no way of knowing what might have happened. Maybe something else would have gone wrong, maybe you would be in greater shit than you are, maybe you would have wished to stick to the action you actually did take.
What I’m trying to say is, don’t torture yourself with the shoulda woulda coulda’s… maybe one of them would have led you to a greater shit heap than the one you’ve found yourself in.
You are not unique
You are not the first, nor last, to have fucked this up. Don’t beat yourself up about it.
Everyone will make mistakes in their lifetime. This one is yours. Own it. Be proud of it. Take responsibility of it. ‘Cause one day when you’re older and far more experienced, you can tell those who look up to you that you were once as susceptible to fuck ups as them – and you’re probably still making mistakes along the way.
Small fish can only grow bigger in bigger ponds
JK Rowling’s Harry Potter was turned down by 12 publishers before it got picked up. Oprah got fired from her first TV job.
If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not trying hard enough and you’ll never move forward. Coping with fuck ups sucks, but it also means you’re pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone.
So really… failing is a good sign; it means you’re stretching your fingers into the unknown and allowing yourself room to grow.
Don’t tell your dad
Every one of your friends will have fucked up at some point in their lives. Share your experiences, laugh at both your incompetencies. Maybe they’ve done something similar before, maybe worse. You’ll soon realise that in the mega-grand-world-wide scheme of things, your fuck up isn’t so bad.
Maybe don’t tell your dad though – his first response to me was ‘I told you so.’ Thanks paps.
The pain will fade
Oh how cliché of me.
Cliché it may be, there’s a reason for it. La vie continue.
The wonders of a good sleep, the perspective of a new day. The more time that passes, the less you’ll dwell on your fuck up and the lighter the burden will feel. Eventually it’ll fade into a misty distant memory of a scar you’ll remember but the pain of which you will forget.
You were meant to fuck up
[Bonus #9 for the divinity inclined…]
If it gives you any comfort at all, maybe you were meant to fuck up. Maybe there’s some other reason or outcome that is yet to come to light that would never occur had you not fucked up.
Call it fate, destiny, divine power, whatever you want to call it… maybe, just maybe, this is exactly where you’re meant to be.