(146) Use Your Every Mistake to Build Self-Esteem (and inner-strength)

Updated: Aug 31, 2020

Self-esteem? Not when I make a mistake! I feel embarrassed, even ashamed (especially if others are involved).

I hate feeling that way, which is why I pretend I did not do it; or pretend I meant to do it; or blame someone or something, anyone or anything, that is not me.

I also tell myself that it was not my fault, over and over. The bigger the mistake the more time I have to spend convincing myself (and those around me).

Yes, I have done all that, absolutely everything, except boost my self-esteem higher than it was before.

How? Well, you know. By taking a deep breath and 1.) admitting "I made a mistake;" 2.) Apologizing; and 3.) Saying what I will do to make things right (or at least better).

For many of us, the thought of admitting a mistake can feel too awful to even try. I know, I have been there.

How to admit if we just cannot? 3 steps:

1.) Start with you, by admitting your mistakes to yourself, beginning with the ones that some of us act like we meant to do. Admit them nice and loud, if you are alone. And if you find yourself in the middle of acting, well, admit it then.

These self-admissions will probably be difficult at first, because nobody wants to feel the negative emotions that go with them. But each time you do, your inner strength increases.

And this foundation of truth to yourself will make it easier out in the world; so, give yourself permission to feel awful (it won't last long) and start admitting those mistakes.

2.) Give this post to someone close to you. Then, have some fun pretending different mistakes (based on the past?). Take turns admitting, apologizing and saying what you will do to fix them. Over a number of sessions.

And yes, though it is not nearly as fun, you can do this on your own.

3.) Make those first public admissions as gentle and as easy on yourself as possible, by starting with your smallest mistakes first.

And remind yourself that standing up and admitting a mistake feels amazing, at least afterward, and that it also increases inner strength and self-esteem permanently -- every time.

The Stark Reality

It had taken several weeks of late nights, but Marie was smiling, as she thought of her recent promotion to Marketing and how much the team would like this, her first report.

She entered the plush conference room and proudly began handing them out. She felt on top of the world, as she watched her boss leaf through it.

Franklin finally looked up and said, “This looks good Marie, but where is the Linderman section?”

Marie asked, “Linderman?” and felt her face flush red.

Near the end of that first, long meeting, Franklin had mentioned including Linderman’s area of the state.

Annabelle, senior member of the team, incredulously asked, “You didn’t include it?”

The others had their eyes on the table.

Marie’s voice was quiet, as she said, “I, I remember we, well, we talked about it, and I just, um, forgot.”

This last was a whisper.

She knew how much he hated falling off schedule and glanced up to see his angry face.

He abruptly stood and barked “Take twenty-minutes!”

The others followed him out, leaving Marie alone.

The silence was overwhelming.

“Can I help?”

Marie looked up, tears brimming.

A short, balding man handed her a tissue and asked “What happened?”

The words came spilling out. She finished by saying, “And I feel so embarrassed, more than embarrassed.”

“Ashamed?” he asked.

“Yes, ashamed. How could I have forgotten a whole section of the report?”

“A feeling of shame is common after a big mistake.”

Marie blurted, “Who are you?”

“Dennis,” he answered. “I'm a psychologist the company brings in to support marketing. I was in the office across the hall and saw Franklin stomp out.”

She quietly said, “Marie.”

Dennis asked, “Do you know that you have never been wrong?

“Oh, come on,” she said, “This is a disaster; besides, everybody makes mistakes.”

“Of course we do, and your mistake is thinking that mistakes are wrong.”

“But I feel so awful; I mean, I let these people down.”

“Yes, you did, but our society has let you down. It has taught you to think that what you did was wrong, even bad.”

Marie gave a quick shake of her head and said, “Okay, but so what?”

“Ah, the 'so what' is the choice you now face. You can continue to wallow in the blame and shame, or you can take responsibility and do everything possible to make it right.”

Marie looked away.

A full minute passed before she nodded to herself, turned to Dennis and said, “Thank you.”

The team began returning. Franklin entered last and sat down hard.

Still angry, he leaned forward and said, “Without Linderman we are behind schedule. Now, Annabelle, I want you to…”

Marie stood up and said, “Excuse me.”

She could feel her hands trembling and clasped them in front of her.

Forcing herself to look at her boss, she said, “I want to apologize…” Her voice cracked. She cleared her throat and tried again.

“I apologize for my mistake, and I have a solution. We can go over the first five sections of the report today and tomorrow.”

She paused and then plunged ahead. “I will complete Linderman tonight and tomorrow night, and we can use it, along with the final two sections on the third day.”

Franklin sat back. Silent.

Slowly, he said, “Yes, ok, that could work. Are you sure you can handle it?”

She hesitated, then nodded decisively and said, “Yes; and again, my apology to you all.”

As she sat down, Marie realized an inner glow had replaced much of the embarrassment and shame, and she sent Dennis a silent thank you.

But Not Now

Even after we begin admitting our mistakes, it can take awhile to feel the change in our lives. If you want to move faster into that change, here is the link:

How to IMMEDIATELY Raise Your Quality of Life


All She Ever Wanted Was...


Her: She was saying, “If only I could find the right guy, I would give myself to him, and—

I stopped her and asked, “Give your SELF?”

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She was giving him money to keep his business afloat.

She had also given him the down payment for his house and had recently taken over the payments. ​

His insight: "I'm 30 years old and still (like a child) dependent on my mother!"

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And That Power is Now Yours:


Either one of these 2 simple techniques can bring you a life-changing insight, one that leads to permanent change.

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For more on building self-esteem from mistakes, here is a link from The Muse:


Use your (worst) mistakes to build self-esteem:


The very foundation of personal improvement is self-care/self-love. Waiting at this link:


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