Mistakes are inevitable, in fact life would be incomplete without them, and yet so much time is spent by many of us denying their existence, covering them up and pretending they are not a part of our lives. Our mistakes are amongst the most important references in the library of human experience, they contain so much invaluable data and information about how best to conduct our lives. If we would only spend more time extracting the wisdom from our mistakes and less time behaving as if mistakes were the worst things that could happen to us, we would move forward at a greater rate of knots. We need to realise the ‘thing’ that stands in our way most of all is oneself, nothing inhibits our movement forward more than we do. Far too much time is spent blaming others and external events, rather than looking at our contribution to the problem or the difficulties that stand before us. It is because we have created a culture that frowns on mistakes and encourages us to hide and conceal them, why we spend so much time pushing the blame elsewhere, which does not help us, it simply keeps us stuck. We can only really free ourselves when we own our mistakes and make use of them.
Making a mistake is not the worst thing we can do in our lives, to the contrary the worst thing we can do is to deny, mask or attempt to bury our mistakes. It is how we react and respond to mistakes that really counts, and the first response that is needed is to accept we make mistakes and realise that this is OK. Those who have reached their own highest point have been helped most by their mistakes. Mistakes once they happen, are not to be avoided they need to be embraced. Of course it is not our goal in life to make mistakes, but as long as we have done what we can to prevent them, when they do occur there is no value in crucifying ourselves, what we need to do then is take a closer look at the lessons that are being offered to us via the medium of our experience. It is this approach that enables us to develop a healthy, constructive relationship with our mistakes.
The more we learn to value our mistakes, the more able we are to love ourselves, nothing blocks us more from ourselves than either our harsh attitude around making mistakes or our complete denial that we make mistakes at all. Both these positions paralyse us and keep us trapped in negative cycles. We need to realise a punitive approach to making mistakes is a waste of energy and time, it does not allow for change and improvement, and it is equally wasteful and non productive to pretend we are beyond making mistakes. Whichever position we find ourselves in we need to walk away from it because in the end both these positions only lead to pain and regret.
If we are honest with ourselves we will see our mistakes have been like items of litter that we have dropped inconspicuously along the way hoping no one will see the trail we have left behind us. This is why we find it difficult to own our mistakes because we see them as unwanted, useless bits of rubbish which are better discarded, but until we start picking up these items of rubbish and saying “this is mine” we will never become the best we can be. There is no shame in this activity, there is only greatness, those who think they can live life without making mistakes make the biggest mistake of all, which is to miss the countless opportunities to grow and learn from what they have done wrong. The crucial ingredient that helps secure real success in life is accepting oneself fully and to do that we need to accept our mistakes. The more accepting we are of our own mistakes the more understanding we become, and the more able we are to give compassion and forgiveness both to ourselves and others. When we all take responsibility for our own mistakes we will live in a much kinder world … So why not make a contribution to creating a better world starting from today?