Yesterday, my boyfriend listened to a story of mine about how I drank a LOT when I was a teenager and seemed to survive. This story, among a whole bunch of other terrifying memories of my youth, can send me into a tailspin of regret….if I let it.
He asked me after listening to this about whether I regretted doing it. My answer was “no”, and here is the reason why. We all make mistakes. We make LOTS of mistakes. I bet if you tried to figure out how many mistakes you have made in your entire life, you wouldn’t be able to count that high. Not to mention, we may not even remember all the mistakes we’ve made, or even know about some of the mistakes we’ve made. We are human. That’s something that humans do on a regular basis. I routinely try to give myself a break. I forgive myself for being myself.
That being said, there is another good reason. Mistakes are teachers. Mistakes show us that we are not perfect, that we have a lot to learn. No matter how old we are, mistakes will continue to occur. Mistakes are not only teachers, they are the most valuable teacher we could have.
Not making mistakes will not make you smarter, or richer, or happier. Not making mistakes will cheat you out of the experiences that you need to evolve into a more knowledgeable person. Mistakes are the magic that holds life together, and I love them.
I don’t love mistakes when I am making them, but I sure do when I look back in retrospect and see them for the formative, enlightening moments that they are. Don’t fear making mistakes, but take the time to evaluate what they taught you…..or hopefully taught you.
Try hard not to repeat making the same mistake, because this indicates that you didn’t learn what you were supposed to learn the first time. Rather, make new, interesting mistakes! Try everything. Experience life, because we really don’t know what will happen when we cross to the other side…..not with utmost certainty. This is it. Try, try, try, until you don’t have the energy any more.
If you catch yourself saying, “Oh man, I shouldn’t have done that”, remember, to say it as a teacher might say to a student, not like a mother might say to a child. Say it factually, without condemnation. Say it with conviction to acknowledge it, learn it, dismiss it, and not repeat it. You are an incredible learning machine, aren’t you?
Have a wonderful weekend. Now, get out there and make a mistake.