Ashamed? Clean Up the Mess!

Q: I know you wrote that shame isn’t productive, but I still have a problem with shame. I tend to dwell on regrets over my mistakes. How can I stop this?

A: People make mistakes and the important thing is that if it’s really a mistake, learn from it, don’t do it again, and move on. People make huge mistakes sometimes and they still regenerate themselves and start anew. Most mistakes aren’t huge. Even if you make a huge mistake, how will sitting around and feeling regret and shame solve anything? Get up and clean up the mess! Regardless, you’re not doomed to do the same thing over and over again. The more disgusted you are with something you did, the more motivated you will feel to do something different in the future. Shame is really a waste of time. Feeling shame is something to move beyond—it’s the past, not the present or the future. Your present and future need not be the same as the past.