What’s the biggest mistake you ever made?
Do you live with it, still, every day? Is its aftermath part of your current reality?
Have you made this mistake more than once? Do you feel you have learned from it?
Do you ever wonder, “Why me?, Why is this the mistake I keep making, over and over?”
Do you feel grateful for the mistake?
Is its lesson apparent and prevalent in your every day? Or, does it seem like you are destined to make the same mistake over and over, with no respite, no lesson, no meaning?
It’s been said that the mistakes we make are gifts, that they allow us to access our most important life lessons.
Few among us would dispute that.
But, I am sure I speak for most of us when I state that mistakes, whether underway or past, often feel more terrible than wonderful. And by “often,” I mean that thinking about our mistakes feels pretty awful most of the time.
I marvel at people who say they enjoy making mistakes or seek our more mistakes. Sometimes they talk about the glory of failing, as well. I understand and appreciate the idea of trying and failing trumping comfort zone and staying in “neutral,” but the idea that people get off on making mistakes is fascinating and foreign to me.
I hate making mistakes. Not because I think I am perfect or strive to be perfect. (Though I did just that for years. It was tiring.) No, I hate making mistakes because I hate having to live with them after.
I can usually “fix” the actual mistake and actions or words or patterns that led to the mistake.
But it is the residue, the slimy, can’t-scrub-it-all-off muck of the mistake that stays with me, sometimes it seems, forever.
This scummy muck lives in questions like these:
How could you do that?
Why did you do that?
I can’t believe you said that!
Why were you with him?
How could you let her do that?
Obviously you picked the wrong one.
You ate what?!
How could you stand by and say nothing?
Why do you put up with him?
I suppose the thing I am working on is making that connection between the slime and the lesson. I don’t think any one of us will stop making the mistakes for as long as we are around in this life. So the “trick” is not to avoid (or try to avoid) making them. My thinking is that somewhere in there, deep in the fallout from the mistake, is the thing that will make those questions obsolete and make the mistake itself meaningful on a better level. And it is probably that better meaning that allows people to better let go and move on, onto a place where they can put those lessons to good use.
I’d love to know how you do that and what has worked for you. If you are willing to share, I am betting that your story will help not only me but many others who are reading this but perhaps not ready to step forward and share.