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In life, it is a major facet of human nature that we often have far less tolerance for our own mistakes than we have for the shortcomings of others. Unfortunately, the level of self-criticism that many of us inflict on ourselves can be truly paralyzing.

Self-Criticism: A Losing Battle
Indeed, being excessively self-critical can keep us from becoming our best selves. To really succeed, we positively must be open to new opportunities. We must be vulnerable and open to new experiences.

And that means that we must learn to leave the past in the past and move forward to a brighter horizon. If we are to make the most of our time in this world, we cannot always wear our mistakes like millstones around our necks.

Fortunately, there are ways to overcome issues surrounding excessive self-criticism. Here are just a few important goals in life that can allow us to make peace with our past mistakes and discover new pathways to greater success.

Treat Yourself as You Would a Friend
If a friend came to you and described some of the issues that you judge yourself harshly for, would you treat them as harshly as you treat yourself? When push comes to shove, most of us probably wouldn’t. And with good reason: There is certainly something to be said for treating yourself with the same respect and empathy as you would a friend.

After all, everyone makes mistakes. The next time you rebuke yourself for having faults, try to imagine that you are speaking to a close confidant. You’ll probably come away from the experience with a renewed sense of self-esteem.

Realize That Most People Aren’t Focusing on Your Shortcomings
Think back to a time when someone you know made a glaring mistake at work. How often do you even think of their error? Do you lie awake at night dwelling on their miscalculations? In a similar way, most people will be too wrapped up in their own problems to focus on whatever shortcomings you may have struggled with in the past.

Try giving your problems some perspective: Did you learn from your mistakes? Have you grown and moved forward as a person over the last several months or years? Is dwelling on your shortcomings even effective at this point? If you’ve already learned a lesson from your mistakes, it is probably time to move forward.

Realize That You Are Only Human
It is a very human thing to make mistakes. After all, none of us can perfectly predict the future. By thinking of our mistakes as learning opportunities, however, most of us will admit that our shortcomings have made us who we are today. Without them, we’d still be stuck in our previous ways of thinking about the world. Is that really the person that most of us would rather be?

To wit, if making the right decision is important to you now, you must have learned a great deal from your errors. If so, allow yourself to move forward. Acknowledge that you’ve changed. Thanks to your mistakes, you’ve learned new things; you’ve grown; you’ve become a better person. That is all that we can really ask of ourselves in this life.