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Get Over it! Why simply ‘getting over it’ may not be the best advice
As another New Year approaches and thoughts go to the prior 12 months and wondering what 2016 will bring in our personal and professional lives, it’s a perfect time to start talking honestly about simple strategies to leaving the past…in the past.
My mom used to say,“get over it” whenever a mistake or challenge surfaced in my journey of life. Wile it sounded so simple, it was very difficult to put into practice. One of her strengths was moving on, always looking towards the future and leaving the past where it belongs, in the past. For the purpose of this conversation, I am speaking about moving on when we make mistakes in life.
Get ovet it?!?!?
If I am to be honest, when she would say this to me as a young person and even early on in my adult life, it was confusing. I remember feeling lost that I did not know how to move forward and sometimes mad because I did not want to move forward. I wanted to let my feelings out, yell and scream or cry. Why would these three simple words, get over it, be so confusing?
As I grew older and perhaps gained some perspective and wisdom, I learned that she did not mean ‘get over it’ as if in one second that mistake could be erased and I would never think of it again. Neither was she saying not to let my emotions show, although truth be told, I was a bit of a drama queen. It was her way of saying, “find a way to move forward, learn from your mistake, forgive yourself.”
And, taking mom’s wise advice…I have finally found a way to move to that point where I can move forward without dwelling too long on the past, on the mistake.
First is coming to the understanding that none of us are perfect. In fact, embracing our imperfect nature is part of what makes this journey of life so very interesting, and it is what allows for real growth.
Going back to the little kid in me, the confused kid that wanted a path to ‘get over it,’ below are six specific steps you can use and share as a gift with someone in your life as they work to ‘get over it.’
Own your mistake; accept it as yours and nobody else’s. No excuses allowed. Doing an interview recently, the interviewer asked me about what I thought of the wonderful State he lived in. Going on and on, I discussed the marvels of the great state of Utah. He politely reminded me, mid-sentence, that he lives in Idaho. Embarrassing!Never fully recovering during the interview, it was a very poor performance on my part. I could have kept reliving that over and over again but instead I went on to follow the rest of the steps to moving on.
WHY DID IT HAPPEN?
It’s important to ask why the mistake occurred but not to beat yourself up over it. Sometimes there is no why, it just…happened. However, sometimes there is a why that we can learn from. In my interview example, the reason I did not give the amazing interviewer my best, was because I was not prepared and he deserved a prepared expert.
CAN I FIX IT?
While we can’t exactly ‘fix’ our mistakes in the sense of making them go away as if they never happened, we can do things to mitigate the damage or to smooth things over. An authentic, “I’m sorry” works wonders!
Is there a logical next step? For me, a handwritten note was in order.
WHAT ABOUT NEXT TIME?
This is where the magic happens. This is why ‘mistakes’ are a jewel in our life’s journey. While it’s not advisable to dwell on this for too long, do reflect on what you might do differently next time. This so called ‘mistake’ happened for a reason. It has a beautiful lesson to teach you. Mine was to be more prepared next time.
Now we can move on. Time to put the situation in the rear-view mirror. Time to let the past be the past. Time to move into an amazing future…. or as mom would say, time to “get over it.”
So as you contemplate the prior year, celebrate your journey…all of it: The good, the challenges, the lessons and the laughter. Find a way to put the past in the past while paying homage to the lessons who make you who you are.