I have a guilt complex. This is something I've known about myself for a long time. For a brief time once I learned what flipping someone off meant, I walked around with my middle fingers curled into my palms, scared I'd inadvertently offend someone. It was a weird phase - almost debilitating for a while - that I've mostly overcome in my semi-adulthood. But sometimes I still think I feel more guilt than the average bear. When I make a mistake, I go through a weird and uncomfortable emotional roller coaster where I first try to (shamefully) find a way that it's not my fault, then realize it is all my fault and sink into self-criticism, after which I feel a weird compulsion to go confess my error to someone...or everyone, mainly so they can tell me what a not-big deal it is.
Aside from my overly neurotic reactions, it's not uncommon to get panicky about mistakes. In fact, psychologists have learned that the human brain retains memories of moments you screwed up better than any other. So don't feel bad if you can't remember anything from middle school except that time you dropped your tray in the middle of the lunchroom. Physiologically, we're built to remember those mistakes and are thus more likely to remember how to avoid them.
After making a (fairly minor) mistake at work today, I read this article which says, "The problem is not making mistakes but what you tell yourself when you make one." Mm.
Of course, the author goes on to say we should tell our selves to be "excited" and "energized" by mistakes because they are an opportunity to learn and grow. I won't take it that far. But I can recognize that there's no need to get all pit-in-my-stomach panicky when I do something stupid. Doesn't mean I'm stupid. Doesn't mean I'll do it again if I don't wholly rework the way I do things. Just means I made a GD mistake. Which is ok.
"An error doesn't become a mistake until you refuse to correct it," said Orlando Battista. What a refreshing thought! It doesn't really count unless you give up, hands in the air, and say there's nothing you can do.
So, yes, I did what I could to fix my mistake. And now I'm doing what I can to not feel so guilty about it because, really, life is too short.
Better to save the guilt for better things, like brownies.