We all expect children to make mistakes. It’s a part of the learning process as they discover more of the world around them. There’s even a Daniel Tiger song that says, “It’s okay to make mistakes. Try to fix them and learn from them, too.” So if we know that mistakes occur with children, why is it so difficult for us to move past our mistakes as adults? And what happens when we are focused on our past mistakes that we can’t move on?
Failure to Launch
Many of us are familiar with the term: “failure to launch”. It is the inability to make that transition into adulthood. It is not uncommon for young adults to spend time back at home as they try to figure out what their next steps will be. But for some, the idea of figuring out what comes next can be so overwhelming that they get stuck. They may fear failure or they may have the mindset that no matter what they do, it isn’t going to work out. These thought patterns can cause failure to launch. Young adults who were set up to go out on their town find themselves still on that launching pad wondering how they will ever get off.
Young adults who have made mistakes in the past, perhaps mistakes that have caused them to drop out of school or lose their job, can feel immobilized by the fear that they will “fail” again. This fear of making more mistakes keeps them stuck and unable to move onto the next phase of their lives. It is important to understand that everyone makes mistakes and that mistakes are an important part of the learning process.
Overcoming Past Mistakes
The first step towards moving past a mistake is figuring out what you have learned from it. When we make a mistake, we often don’t want to dwell on it. It can bring up feelings of guilt or shame. But when we address it head-on, we can begin to process the emotions around the mistake. We may even realize that we have learned a lesson from it. For example, perhaps there was a job you were fired from. The mistake may have been that you continually called in late or sick, which caused the manager to let you go for not showing up to work. While it can be embarrassing to think about not being responsible at your job, you have learned what is expected of you. You know what is and is not acceptable in the workplace. This is a valuable lesson that you can carry with you to your next job.
After learning from your mistake, you can address the root cause. Were you often late because of poor time management? Maybe you found yourself staying up too late and then missed your alarm in the mornings because you were so tired. Understanding what led to the mistake can help you create a plan to avoid making the same mistakes in the future. You know that you need to go to bed at a reasonable time, and would benefit from creating a schedule to help you better manage your time.
Lastly, we need to show ourselves some forgiveness. We want to look back at our mistakes so that we can learn from them, but we don’t want to get stuck dwelling in the past. Mistakes were made, but we can move on because we now understand how to address these mistakes in the future. We know that life is full of mistakes, and if we aren’t making mistakes, it’s probably because we’re staying in our comfort zone (maybe that’s your parents’ home) and not stretching ourselves to grow and learn new things. Making a mistake does not mean that you’ve failed. It means that you’ve learned something new.
blueFire PulsaR Can Help
We help young adults and their families overcome challenges that limit their potential. We work with bright 18-28 year-olds to address behavioral or motivational attitudes impacting their success in life. The Southern Idaho Wilderness, near Sun Valley and the Snake River Canyon, is a mecca for outdoor adventure activities and an ideal setting to thrive.
We help young adults step out of their comfort zone, improve their self-esteem, and help our clients build their confidence through self-success. Our program helps create positive changes and improvements through engagement and adventure. We have a supportive environment that encourages clients to push themselves physically and emotionally to create lasting changes. For more information please call (208) 269-7407.