So, you’ve made a lot of mistakes in life? Take comfort, friend—so have I.
For a vast amount of time, the mistakes I made in life greatly affected my self-esteem. I was plagued with feelings of guilt and shame while being constantly bombarded with the could-haves and should-haves. However, a universal truth is that everyone makes mistakes.
So why was it so easy to get stuck in this downwards spiral? Turns out that it’s more than just understanding that everyone makes mistakes. It’s understanding the value of mistakes and how they lead us to more fulfilling lives.
I want to share five key things that I’ve learned about in regards to making mistakes. These five things have helped transform guilt and shame into self-compassion and resilience. Let’s start.
1. You did the best you could at the given time.
You did the best you could with the tools you had. Your intentions were good and you meant well. Your mistakes probably weren’t malicious. You could’ve only done it this way at the time because the truth of the matter is…
2. You didn’t know then what you know now.
How could you? You had to go through those mistakes then to learn they were even mistakes. Those mistakes brought you to these realizations. It would’ve been impossible to truly learn and have the lessons resonate as much as they do now if it weren’t for those mistakes.
3. If you didn’t have these realizations, you’d still be back there.
Isn’t it better to have made those mistakes then rather than five or 10 years from now? You now have the advantage of learning and growing more in life.
I believe life is going to keep sending us lessons until we learn them. Instead of thinking about how much you may have messed up or how you wished you had done something differently, try practicing gratitude and compassion. You now get to go forward in life as a better person who not only acknowledged their mistakes but used them to become a more well-rounded person.
4. Your mistakes don’t define you.
You are not the person who made those mistakes, you are the person who has learned. You may have messed up badly but the important piece is where you go from there. The fact that you’re self-aware, consciously working on yourself, and learning from your mistakes shows A LOT about your character. Your strength. Your resilience. Your integrity.
5. Healing and growing are hard work.
It’s not easy to admit we screwed up. It takes a beautiful amount of courage and honesty to admit our faults to ourselves. We may find that even though we realize certain things and are moving in the right direction, we may mess up again. Remember that that’s okay!
Mistakes are bound to happen. The important thing is what we do next. Life can take us on some hard journeys but it’s usually these journeys that bring the most depth and meaning to our lives.