This is an easy post for me to write because I’m experienced. In the last 24 hours I’ve messed up twice—once with my wife and once in my work.

I didn’t treat anyone awfully. My performance just wasn’t as good as I wish it was. I bet you’ve been there before, too, haven’t you. Things just didn’t turn out the way you saw them working out.

And after you’ve messed up you have to deal with those condemning and emotionally draining thoughts: “I’m just not very good at ________, am I?!” “I’m not very __________, am I?!”

Oh, and just wait until you try to go to sleep at night. Umm-hum!

Here are four “R’s” to help you recover emotionally when you’ve mess up:

1.     REPENT QUICKLY

Okay. I used “repent” because I wanted each help to start with “R”. Admit and Confess are better words.

Confess to the person you let down that you dropped the ball. Chances are they won’t be as hard on you as you are on yourself.

Even if they are tough on you, admitting your failure is incredibly cathartic, and if they say, “Okay. I forgive you”, that’s even better.

You can’t always make a wrong right, but when you can, do it, and do it quickly. I didn’t intentionally hurt Debbie’s feelings, but I did hurt her feelings. All I could do was confess my failure and beg her forgiveness.

But last week when I missed an appointment, I confessed the wrong and reschedule at their earliest convenience.

Hiding or avoiding the confrontation just keeps you stuck emotionally.

I know they say, “Time heals everything.” But that really isn’t true. The pain or embracement of messing up only fades over time.

But even so, the person you let down is left holding the bag of hurt or anger. Why wait when you both can be set free now 

Make the call. Make it right. Get free.

2.     REMEMBER, YOU ARE NOT AS GOOD AS PEOPLE SAY YOU ARE, BUT NEITHER ARE YOU AS BAD AS YOU THINK YOU ARE AFTER YOU’VE MESSED UP

Have you ever done something then thought, “Well that wasn’t very good!” I sure have.

Okay! You did your best but today your best wasn’t very good. Now you have to deal with those awful thoughts, “I’m just not very good at…”

One of the most liberating things you can do is give yourself freedom to bring your best even when your best is not the best.

Your best may not have wowed the crowd, but at least you showed up. I promise, your best helped someone.

3.     REPLACE VOICES OF THE PAST WITH YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER’S VOICE

After you’ve messed up chances are you’re hearing voices from the past shouting the “should haves”, “You should have worked harder…” “You should have tried harder…” You should have…”

But your heavenly Father is saying, I’m proud of you for showing up. Don’t give up, you’re having an impact.

4.     REALIZE YOU CAN GET BETTER

Those nagging and condemning thoughts gain power when you let them deceive you into thinking you are stuck. I’m not good at…and I never will be.

Realizing you aren’t stuck is liberating. You may not be the best, but you can get better.

The best way to better is to make a commit to tiny improvements. Tiny improvements make a big difference over the long-haul. James Clear, best known for his book, Atomic Habits, says, “If you get one percent better each day of the year, you’ll end up thirty-seven times better by the time you are done.”

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