Name it, Claim it, and Let it Go!
By Gwendolyn M. Duhon, Ph.D.
The nature of being human is being imperfect. We, as human beings, make mistakes every day. Making mistakes can be a great learning experience.
Finding out how not to do something can be as important as discovering the correct way to do it. Some of the world’s greatest discoveries and inventions were the results of mistakes. The critical part in learning from our mistakes lies in how we deal with ourselves in relation to our mistakes. Forgiving ourselves tends to be very difficult for some of us. Often, we will beat ourselves up for doing the very thing that human beings are famous for- making mistakes. There will be times when we make errors in judgment. We may have acted impulsively- consciously or unconsciously hurting others, hurting ourselves, or both. Or, we may have acted after careful thought and consideration- and still made a mistake. Once our mistakes are made, we can choose how they affect us. Either we can spend a lifetime agonizing over our mistakes or we can name it, claim it, and let it go!
Name it: This step requires that we identify our role in making the mistake. Either we make a poor decision, acted incorrectly, or did nothing- which itself is a choice. Identifying our role helps us to look at the situation more clearly and not waste time blaming others for our actions.
Claim it: This step asks that we take responsibility for our mistake. Once we claim it, it no longer has the power to haunt us. We have also learned how not to do something- which can be knowledge used for dealing with future situations.
Let it go: This step can be the most difficult- especially if we have to live with the consequences of our actions. There are always consequences from mistakes. Some consequences are insignificant, while other mistakes can change the course of our lives. Letting go of our mistakes means letting go of the negative feelings associated with making mistakes- shame, disappointment,