How to Forgive Yourself After Making a Mistake

PC: Alexis Duran,  our wonderful Videographer

PC: Alexis Duran,  our wonderful Videographer

Recently, a documentary about us was featured on BBC Three. I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity, and the production team did a beautiful job. When the film was sent to me for final review, I notified of any edits that needed to be made, and anxiously waited until it would be published.


But, I had brushed over a small detail that had significant value to our community.


Instead of changing “Michael was born with severe Down Syndrome,” to “Michael was born with Down Syndrome, which severely impacted him,” I had left it as is.


In our community, there is no “spectrum.” Every individual is impacted in various ways, from low-functioning to high-functioning in certain areas of communication, movement, etc. In one of my latest blog posts I emphasized how to talk about Down Syndrome.


I felt like complete garbage once some people started pointing it out. I felt as though I had let our community down, as I’ve been striving to fix my own language regarding Down Syndrome. It was no one else’s fault, but my own. I admit, and I will apologize, that I had let it slide.


And I think that’s something so special about our community, is that there will always be a learning curve. I too have things to learn and improve from, and the way I talk about Down Syndrome now vs 5 years ago is astoundingly different.


And yet, we’re all human. And part of being human comes with making mistakes.


But, it’s not our mistakes that define us. It’s how we react to them and what we learn from them that’s important. We’re meant to make mistakes, because that’s one of the best methods for us to learn and grow. And every single human has made a mistake at one point in their life.


It’s best to reflect and learn what to improve for afterwards, but life will still continue. And always remember: in some situations, if someone chooses to rudely point out your small mistake and disregard any good that you’ve done, that says more about them than it does about you.


If you’re still anxious or shaken up after making a mistake, be sure to follow this:


  • Apologize wherever needed. Own up to what you had done, and understand the impact of it. Let whoever know that you will do your best to not have it happen again, and do it all out of compassion.


  • Accept that what has happened is now in the past, and it’s time for you to move on and grow. If you’re still anxious, go for a run, swim, practice some yoga, journal, do whatever you need to do if you’ve bundled up stress since your mistake. It’s important to release that stress so you can move on and continue to grow and not ruminate over the situation. We can’t focus on growing if we continue to focus on the negative.


  • Forgive. Another important lesson I’ve learned through Michael is the importance of forgiveness. Michael holds no grudges (except for a few minutes towards me after he hasn’t seen me in a while), but forgives so quickly. Why keep holding yourself down, when you can pick yourself up and grow?

As said by one of my favorite authors, Melissa Ambrosini: “forgiving yourself and others allow freedom and release to flow through your veins. Holding on to the past energetically attaches you to the situation.”

*also seen on Sivana Spirit: