How Can I Grow from My Mistakes? 5 Steps to Learn from the Past

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How Can I Grow from My Mistakes? 5 Steps to Learn from the Past

Adapted from Monica and Michael Berg’s Spiritually Hungry podcast. Listen and subscribe here.
November 6, 2023
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When we think about regret, we tend to think about the things we wish we could edit, change, or erase from the past – the things that keep us up late at night as we replay the events in our head, dwelling on our mistakes and fantasizing about what we should’ve done differently.  However, the wisdom of Kabbalah teaches that someone who has made a mistake and corrected it is at a higher spiritual level than someone who has never made any mistakes in the first place. This is because the process of self-reflection and making amends makes us more powerful and elevated.

Anytime we do something we shouldn’t have done, whether it be acting selfishly or hurting someone, we remove a part of our life force, hiding it in darkness. Through the process of looking back and making amends, we can take back that part of us and reconnect to the Light. In doing so, we become fuller people. It’s not just about going back to where we were before we made the mistake but actually getting to a place where we are more elevated.

Here are 5 steps to grow from your mistakes:

1. Review your words and actions.

The purpose of looking back on our mistakes is not simply to create a list of the things we need to change going forward but rather about recognizing the areas where we did not live up to our fullest potential. Even if you did great, important things this year, know that there is still so much more you are capable of. Think about the times when you didn’t show up for yourself. Where are the areas that you did not act in accordance with your soul? How did you hurt others? In what ways did you hurt yourself? 

This step might hurt a little bit, and that’s ok. Let yourself feel the pain from the past with the idea that you will not fall into the same traps in the future. 

2. Practice empathy and compassion for those you hurt.

In life, there is no experience we go through that we don’t first and foremost see through our own subjective lens. Try putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and seeing how your actions affected them. 

When others offer a critique of your actions, listen without response. Take it as an opportunity to grow. When someone gives you a piece of their mind, take it silently and just hear what they are saying. It’s not about clearing your name or justifying your actions but about being quiet and having your heart open to a new perspective. 

3. Envision the perfected version of yourself.

Before anything comes into being, there is a moment of perfection that precedes it. If you are building a home, you have a perfect idea of what it’s going to look like in your mind. While building it, there are delays, things go wrong, and the process can be messy, but eventually, the vision is manifested. We are all in the middle of that process in our lives. There is a perfected version of ourselves that exists that we can tap into. Your perfected self is the vision you have of who you are going to become. 

With that idea of your perfected self, clarify your goals and envision the actualized you manifesting that goal. Visualize your character, your outlook, your narrative, your inner essence, and use this to gauge how far you have to go. Be honest with yourself: is your daily progress enough to create the reality of your envisioned self and envisioned future?

4. Find forgiveness for yourself and others.

Imagine you had $604,800 in your bank account. Then, someone comes and steals $20 from your account. Would you spend the rest of your money chasing the person who stole that $20? Likely not. 604,800 is the number of seconds in a week. Think about the negative interactions or missteps you made that only last a few seconds or minutes but continue to plague your thoughts throughout the week, stealing moments that could be filled with joy. 

We waste so much of our time and our days holding on to pain and guilt. It steals our life. When we hold on to hurt, the simplest remedy is to forgive, though it is one of the hardest things to do. Knowing that everything happens to you for a reason and that you are in the middle of a process can help allow you to forgive yourself and others more readily. 

5. Trust yourself to make different choices in the future. 

When you start to transform yourself in positive ways, you begin to realize that you don’t have to hold onto the things that have happened to you. The more that you work on improving yourself, the more you become a different person from the one that made those choices. You’ve changed so completely you know you aren’t going to make the same mistakes again. You can let go of the regret and the hurt, trusting yourself to make different choices in the future. 

Sometimes, we have a negative connotation about looking back at our mistakes, but it is actually one of the most empowering processes to go through. Take the time to look back and realize it’s not just a good, spiritual thing to do, but it actually empowers you and makes you a more elevated, powerful person. Reflect on your day, week, month, or year, and use your mistakes as an opportunity for growth. In doing so, you are taking back your power and your soul.