This Is Why We Make Mistakes We Know We Shouldn’t

Felix Russell-Saw
Felix Russell-Saw


We all make them.

Over and over again if you’re me. Not even new mistakes, the same ones on repeat – but why?

What is it that trips us up, why do we fall for it, often knowing where it will lead. We can look at our options, weigh up the pros and cons with a complete awareness of any consequences, but still we blunder into the misty, unstable world old mistakes.

Is it that the consequences are secretly appealing or that the short term gain makes it seem worth it?
For example, drinking 11 pints in a row might strike you as fun, you’ll lose any inhibition and be seen as a “legend” by your peers (though do not ask me why, I’m not sure quite what the attraction of this task would be). But realistically, this achievement will soon be overshadowed by the fact that you’re chundering over your new shoes and being bundled into a taxi, much to the protest of the driver, and missing out on what could have been an excellently enjoyable night. Instead of being remembered as the lad who can down 11 pints, you’re now the lad who couldn’t even make it out and you’ve somehow acquired a huge headache, dirty bed sheets and an unusual nickname which will stick to you like sand to a slightly damp foot.

Or is it that the ‘wrong’ option, is just the easiest, the quickest, the most convenient?
Why take the long route when if you cut through the field it will take a good distance of your journey (assuming of course you don’t get run down by the group of cattle in there, or stuck in the multiple bogs, or shot by a farmer of course).

Anyway, my point is that ultimately, what can seem like a good idea at the time, turns out to be a huge miscalculation. But sometimes our decisions don’t come with an apparent benefit.

For example, based on my personal experience, losing weight until your health is in danger, doesn’t appear particularly tempting in any way. However I still followed that twisted path, into a dark, lonely, terrifying dimension. It wasn’t that I was naive and thought it would all be sunshine and roses, there wasn’t a short term benefit of being underweight, I didn’t have misconceived preconceptions that I’d be showered with love, attention and admiration. I was even advised against it.

But I struggled down that road despite everything. It wasn’t even the easy option, I was opposed at every stage by friends, family, professionals, and even my own body.

What drove me to that? What made me so determined to follow the course which led to what was so obviously a blunder?

The obvious explanation would be “it’s a mental illness, it’s because of a problem in your brain”.

I understand that, but I don’t understand how one blip in the thousands or neurons in my head could cause such a mess.

And why can’t we just fix that blip?
Relapse is so common among eating disorder sufferers, each time one limits their intake, exercises excessively, purges a meal, it’s with a knowledge of what it could ultimately lead to.

I suppose It’s all the deeper issues associated with these conditions: self hatred, low confidence, perfectionism, a need for control.

We can never stop making mistakes, it’s how we learn of course. But can somebody please help me to stop making so many…..?! Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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