You know how there are some of those times in life where you barely dodge the bullet? Those times where you almost fail or you do worse than what you wanted, but not as bad as you expected?
Sure, you can be appreciative and take the “I’m just glad that I didn’t fall on my face” approach. You can take the passive-aggressive “At least I didn’t fail utterly like that last guy did” approach.
Or, instead of immediately discarding the bad experience, hoping for a better one in the future, you can meditate on in for a while, wallow in the misery for a bit in order to know yourself better and learn from your mistakes.
But you don’t want to remain depressed for too long. Of course. No one wants to do that.
So what you should do is worry about your problems enough so that you can learn from them for future experiences, but you should still be positive in the end.
When should you be able to let your mistakes go? I mean, you might want to keep them in your mind just in case if anything like it ever happens ever again, but there’s got to be a time when you can say, “I understand, and I’ve had enough of this. It won’t bug me any longer, and I can move on.” Right?
Think of this scenario (oh, how I love creating scenarios). You are considered a minor, and you’ve just gotten an award. Let’s make it, I don’t know, the Nobel Prize for Peace (you were a good kid). Since it’s around the holidays, let’s make it so that you were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize around Christmas. So you’ve just gotten off the phone, told your family, friends, etc. Everyone is proud.
Then you get invited to a Christmas party because of your achievement. One of those popular-kid parties that are still common. Typically, these parties involve some form of slow dancing, alcohol, etc., so let’s make our hypothetical party have all of this too, plus the eggnog and gingerbread men. Just for the realism. You get the point.
Anyway, because you are a minor, you know that you can’t go to the party where all of the alcohol is at. You (being the nice little Nobel Peace Prize winner you are) immediately tell your parents, and they are glad that you tell them. They plan a big party for you, your friends (not the popular kids), family, and anyone that you want to invite. The peace is kept in the household, and your parents are happy thinking that they’ve done the right thing (which they have).
BUT (plot twist!), despite being the good kid at school, you were never really well known. Going to this party would boost your confidence, ego, social standing, etc. In fact, you are so unknown, that this party is the only thing according to you that would make you famous at school. You long for the party. You crave it.
So what do you do? Being the “good” Nobel Peace Prize winner that you are, you sneak out of the house when your parents are asleep and go to the Christmas party.
Still, the point is, you managed to get into the alcohol supply and things really start to fly. Soon, you’re in someone’s backyard kiddie pool, in a Santa suit, sitting next to some girl you don’t know and who’s asleep, and wondering if any pictures were taken and if your best friend’s microwave has a preset setting to microwave socks.
Yeah, it was a party all right.
Anyway, you sneak home (in your normal clothes, without the Santa suit) and pretend that you were in the house the whole time. That is, until your parents see the pictures.
Now, your parents don’t attack you with all they’ve got, and it seems like you’ve gotten lucky this time (wow, nicest parents I’ve ever heard of). You can either be happy that they haven’t taken out the wooden broom on you, or you can feel ashamed for the rest of your life because you’ve betrayed your parent’s trust, and you openly want to make up for your mistake. Which do you choose?
Taking from my experiences and from others’ opinions, I would want to live happily ever after, but I would want to make up for the mistake in any way possible as well.
So the answer? Both. If you’ve made some mistake, the best thing is to try to correct it. Don’t dwell on it for the rest of your life and kill yourself for it, but don’t be indifferent and oblivious to it as well. When you know that you’ve made the wrong choice and taken the steps to correct your decision, you will then be able to sleep comfortably.
Obviously, you should try to correct yourself first before you feel happy afterward, as any reasonable psychologist would probably say (correct me if I’m wrong, I’m no psychologist). It is unhealthy to keep your mistakes deep down inside of you for too long, though. It’s better to take steps to correct it, and then let it go.
So over the holidays, try not to make any mistakes. If you do, correct them. Don’t just blow them off, and don’t hold it like a grudge either. You can do it; just believe in your ability to make things right again.
And, speaking of the holidays, and more specifically Christmas, don’t be a depression Scrooge and pass your time hoarding all of your bad memories and experiences. Correct them, and let them go. The sooner you correct them, and the sooner you make sure that you don’t make the same mistake again, the better chance you have of not making that mistake again.
Who knows? The next time you make that same mistake again, there won’t be a Sydney Carton there to save your head from being shaved off by the national razor. Yes, Charles Dickens is one of my favorite authors.