Have you ever borrowed a DVD from a friend whom you suddenly barely see, only to have it still sitting in your collection 6 months later? Or borrowed clothing and accidentally stained it?
Soon enough that DVD starts staring at you from your shelf, then whispering little murmurs of guilt into your head. That dress hangs in your closet and you always mean to get it to the dry cleaner, but never get around to it.
We’ve all probably accidentally broken, damaged, or forgotten to return something with no ill intent. Still, the guilt tends to simmer until it reaches a scorching boil.
Instead of staring at that DVD and feeling guilty, try turning your reaction into something more effective: how would you feel if you were the owner of the item in question, the one unintentionally harmed? Would you hate your well-meaning friend forever, or just be grateful that she finally did return your stuff or made an effort to repair the damage?
My red ball! Thanks for returning it! I forgot I owned it!
Hiding from the mistakes we’ve made just makes us feel worse in the end. Instead, concentrate on how you would feel in the other’s shoes and use that to motivate you to change the situation.