Did that one mistake remind you of all the blunders and bad ideas that you generated in the past? Did you call your entire existence into question? Perhaps this time you can choose a fresh route away from self-loathing and self-flagellation.

None of us leads a picture-book perfect life, sweet friends. Believe it or not, many of us fail at work, love, or even friendship. You know what they say: True friendship is walking into a person’s house and your Wi-Fi connects automatically. Then again, occasionally, a true friend gives his paw not his hand. But sincerely, whether we know it or not, we do not even have the tools to live with emotional smartness and sensibility.

How bad were your mistakes and in what area did you make them? Pay attention to the story you tell yourself about each miscalculation or misunderstanding. Be aware if your inner narrative is one of continuous bitterness or bleakness. Can you try to fashion it into a more sympathetic and charitable tale?

Do you know anyone with an unblemished life? Try assembling your thoughts into a kinder version. You have your own distinct history. Do not lose sight of your strengths and sturdiness, please. You may know your limitations unusually well. Are you an expert at beating yourself up? How about turning toward compassion once in a great while?

At the heart of your difficulties is sometimes confusion, which makes you suffer more than you actually should. At times, you may feel a sense of alienation and wish to withdraw from the world entirely. But do you actually know what you are sad about?

It is crucial to know specifically what is troubling you, sweet friends. Oftentimes, we feel down and dispirited, but cannot conclusively put a finger on what is troubling us. What accounts for the mood you are in right now?

Life does not lack all meaning simply because you just dropped your favorite vase on the floor or forgot to purchase that scrumptious dessert for cheat day. You know what they say: Dessert is probably the most important stage of the meal; since it will be the last thing your guests remember before they pass out all over the table. I know: Your doctor told you to stop throwing those intimate dinners for four, unless there are three other people.

Spilled milk again? Well, it doesn’t matter how much milk you spill, as long as you don’t lose your cow. Hey, don’t cry over spilled milk. It could have been coffee.

But truly, sometimes realizing why we are anxious or depressed would be too devastating. Remembering causes of sadness may generate overwhelming feelings of pain or loss. You may be angry at your own parents for having neglected you, but stay in denial about it.

Perhaps you feel you chose the wrong friend or mate but escape through overworking or compulsive shopping. Speaking of shopping, why do Instagram influencers enjoy shopping at Walmart so much? They just can’t get enough of the self-checkout. Where do toy stores keep their Arnold Schwarzenegger action figures? Aisle B, back.

But seriously, many of us choose numbness and have no conscious realization of this. We suppress and bury dark feelings. Are you filled with self-recrimination about yourself? Please find someone with whom you can share in a safe space. Feelings are more bearable when they are expressed and even gently explored with a trusted person.

Do not disavow self-knowledge out of fear. Try not to flee from yourself. You may continue to drink too much, shop till you drop or remain addicted to social media as a means of keeping strong feelings at arm’s length. A loving listener can help you arrive at insight instead of choosing that flight from yourself.

Unresolved or denied trauma will never allow you to believe that life can truly be desirable and delightful. If you have submerged your feelings of grief or loss, please seek out a compassionate listener with whom you can share those undigested feelings. Your emotions are legitimate, sweet friends. You are allowed to be angry, and to mourn your losses.

There are ample and bountiful things in life that are beautiful and even hopeful. Don’t be too busy watching out for what lies ahead of you that you forget to enjoy right where you are. After all, it’s not how much you have, but how much you enjoy. You don’t find a happy life, my friends. You make one.

Caroline is a licensed psychotherapist, crisis counselor, and writer with an office in Queens.  She works with individuals, couples, and families.  Appointments are available throughout the week and weekends.  She can be reached at 917-717-1775 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or at facebook.com/pages/Safe-Haven-Healing.