We have to learn from our mistakes. That’s the advice everyone gives. But how exactly do you get to that point? How do you deal with your own mistakes?
At least we know that making mistakes is part of being human.
They say the first step to solving a problem is to admit you have a problem. Well, the first step to learning from a mistake must be to admit you made a mistake. But guilt is a painful feeling and most of us would rather avoid it. So time and again, we try to convince ourselves that the mistakes we made were not exactly our fault.
You flunked the semester because your professor is incompetent and boring, not because you didn’t study. What you said to your friend wasn’t actually offensive, she or he was just being overly sensitive.
Maybe it would help if we just remind ourselves that it’s okay to make mistakes. Because for one or the other reason we seem to think that if we make mistakes, it means that we’re weak or stupid. Well, actually if you are one to admit your mistakes just as confidently as you brag about doing right, you will be the stronger and wiser person. And it’s only after you admit a mistake that you can learn from it.
We all want to be good people and to do the right things. But sometimes we make mistakes in our reasoning. Sometimes we have good intentions and we think what we’re doing is justified. Then in hindsight we realize what we did was a mistake after all. So your faulty thoughts lead you to making mistakes.
After you admit our mistake, you’ve got to go back and see what your thoughts were like when we made the mistake. What redeeming reasons did you have to believe you were doing right? Maybe you thought, “Life is short and I’ve got to enjoy it.” And so you neglected your school work a little. Or perhaps you thought, “Success comes only through hard work. I’ve got to work as hard as I can.” And so you forgot about your health and your family for a while.
Once you assess the thoughts that lead you to the wrong, you need to forgive yourself and to find the lessons in the mistake. You will need to correct your thoughts so you can avoid the mistakes in the future, to realize that some good actions can have undesirable consequences and to let your mistakes give you a wider perspective on life.
And how do you go about apologizing for your mistakes? Do you just tell people, “I’m sorry” and expect them to forgive you? People can see through insincere apologies. Maybe it’s better to show people that you realize your actions had wrong consequences and that you will work to avoid the mistake in future.
And as always, cheers to life!