Let me be up front: I'm writing this post because I made a mistake.
Everyone makes mistakes. This is a fact of life, just like the sky is blue and snow is dang cold (hang in there, NorthEast). It can feel dang crappy when you make a mistake that effects someone's life other than your own. It still feels crappy when you make a mistake that only effects your life, so. You can connect the dots.
It's even worse when you make a mistake at school or work. Society has built up a system that represents teachers, bosses, and other authority figures as parental units of some kind. By making a mistake at work, you are inadvertently disappointing one of those figures (by some stretch of the imagination, stay with me here). I'm just going to be straight with you: it feels like crap.
But the one thing to keep in mind (that even I am struggling to keep in mind as I write) is that everyone makes mistakes. The only way to really cope with it, however, is to just keep a few things in mind.
- Own Up To It // Nothing good ever comes of trying to cover your mistake up. Never blame anyone but yourself for something that could have been avoided by your actions. This is important to remember if your mistake ends up effecting someone else. Let them know sooner rather than later, and they will thank you for it. Or they won't hate you, at least, which is something.
- Damage Control // Can you do something to fix said mistake? Do it. Obviously you can't rewind time, but sometimes there are things you can do that will right the situation. If it means getting burned for it, weigh the outcomes and decide what you can deal with. For example, if you lose something belonging to someone, can you purchase them another one of those things? It doesn't make the mistake disappear, but people will remember that you took the fall for them.
- Apologize // A mistake is a mistake. I always feel bad when I mess someone else's day up because of something I've done. Apologize. It may not fix the situation, but by showing remorse it will help. Depending on the situation this may or may not be the most effective route, but it never hurts.
- The Future // Can this mistake be avoided in the future? Look at what happened and take steps to make sure it doesn't happen again. Now, if you tripped and spilled your coffee on someone, there's not much that can be done. Accidents happen. Going back to my previous example: if you lose things that people let you borrow, maybe reserve a place for those borrowed things in your home so they don't disappear, or stop borrowing things. Realize your own strengths and weaknesses and work to better yourself.
It may feel like you've disappointed everyone and their dog, but people are human. They mess up just as much as you do and should realize that what you did was an accident. Take it in stride, recognize what happened, and take steps to avoid making the same mistake in the future.
Remember: You are human. Human beings make mistakes. That's okay.