Welcome to being human! At some point in our lives, we all make decisions and choices that we or someone else later consider “bad” or “poor.” We usually refer to these things as “mistakes.”
In a recent workshop, we had a discussion about “mistakes” we have made, and not surprisingly, everyone was able to immediately come up with examples. Not taking the “right” action at work, saying something to a friend that wasn’t well received, taking the initiative on something that stepped on someone’s toes, the list goes on…
Oftentimes, our reaction to these “mistakes” is that we blame or judge ourselves and feel guilty or ashamed. It may trigger a belief that we are “flawed” in some way. We may beat ourselves up, become defensive, or even try to shift the blame onto someone else, all in an effort to deal with the uncomfortable situation. Unfortunately this often makes us feel worse and as a result, we may try to hide whatever we said or did.
I have certainly made my share of “mistakes” over the course of my life. I have made errors in my work that were caught by my manager, I have made comments to people that I later realized hurt them, and I have kept quiet and not said something to a friend because I was so uncomfortable with the situation, when they could really have used some comfort. And I know that even if I try hard, there will be more “mistakes” to come.
This got me into thinking. Given that we all make “mistakes”, what if we were able to accept them as a natural part of life? What if we saw all these occurrences not as “mistakes”, but simply as experiences? What would shift for us?
Maybe we could accept what we did (or didn’t do) more easily. We could have more open conversations with other people who were involved, understand what happened better, and learn from the experience more readily. We could move on more quickly and feel better about ourselves.
It is unrealistic to believe that a “mistake”-free life is possible. I don’t think it’s even desirable because it keeps us from learning. So why not expect that we will make some choices that we later regret and that we will have occasional disagreements with others based on some of our actions? And that’s perfectly ok. It’s part of our life experience. It’s part of being human.
As Brené Brown says: “If we want to live fully, without the constant fear of not being enough, we have to own our story.” And that includes all imperfections and mistakes that come with it. Are you ready to own your story?
Manuela loves helping others accept who they are and bring more happiness into their lives! If you want to learn more about coming to terms with mistakes, join us for our upcoming 5-week workshop: Don’t Try To Be Perfect – Embrace Who You Are