What do you do when you commit a mistake? Feel guilty? Deny it? Brush it under the carpet? Does any of this help? How do you deal with the mistakes that others make? Here is what the Founder of International Association for Human Values, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, a spiritual leader and global humanitarian, has to say about giving mistakes the right treatment. This is the secret recipe to peace at home, work place and everywhere in between.
“Mistakes do happen. But what we often do is go on repenting, ‘Oh! I made such a mistake’, and feel guilty. Or we pretend as though the mistake has not happened, and then strive to prove that it is not a mistake at all. Both these approaches harm a person. One is denial and the other is getting stuck in guilt and shame about the mistake; so much that you fall ill because of it.
So, one should adopt the middle path between these two. When you have made a mistake, do not go on repenting over and over again about it and become miserable. At the same time, do not deny that you made a mistake. The middle path here is to realize that you have made a mistake and that you have learnt something from it. Then move on. No one commits a mistake deliberately.
Why do mistakes happen?
Mistakes simply happen because of a lack of awareness. Once awareness dawns within you, then you should simply realize that you made a mistake out of ignorance. By realizing this you come out of the mistake. At the same time, pointing out someone else’s mistakes all the time and making them feel guilty about it is also no good. Then they will go on distancing themselves from you.
Making others realize their mistakes without making them feel guilty is also an art. You have to do it skillfully and then pat them on their back encouragingly and say, ‘Come on, move ahead. It is alright. Mistakes happen. I have forgotten it, so you also forget about it’.
Do not let anyone stay stuck in guilt or continue feeling like a culprit. A person who is made to feel like a culprit all the time will only go on committing more and more wrong deeds. He will never improve his ways. So to save the mind, you have to first save it from both the culprit and victim consciousness. “