Now look what you did.

Mistakes. They’re a fact of life. Unavoidable, sometimes excusable, always inevitable.  Whether they’re grand or dismissible, whether they’re rectifiable or complete, they happen.  We’re not born perfect, with perfect brains or perfect thought processes or perfect reasoning skills or perfect processes of deduction.  And so we make them.

What we do following a mistake is really where all the difference in the world rests.  Do we beat ourselves up over it, damning our actions and berating our choices, dwelling on what we did, refusing to move forward? Do we wonder in bewilderment how it happened, yet continue doing the same thing we were doing before we made the mistake, sure to repeat it again because we are unable to see? Do we evaluate what we’ve done, take away the tough lessons, and correct our methods for the future, secure in the fact that what occurred had meaning for occurring?

For as flighty and impulsive as I am (or may seem), I am generally decent at learning from my mistakes.  It might take a little while – I tend to be stubborn or bullheaded, at times – but I come around.  Sometimes in my own time, sometimes in good time, but more or less, in time.  I am a firm supporter of the mantra, “Everything happens for a reason,” and as long as I can find a reason, I believe it.  The desperate brain will concoct the strangest of things when it wants to see the light.  But mostly, humans thrive off of having the answer.  I’m no exception.

Some mistakes, however, plague me. Even if I logically understand why I did what I did, and why it needed to happen the way it did, I still have trouble letting a few particularly notable mistakes go. I ask myself how I could’ve been so stupid, why I simply didn’t listen to myself, how I could’ve been so numb to the reality.  I don’t come up with excuses. I knew better. I continued anyway.

Because, as you can see, although I’m fully capable of processing why something happened and I’m also quite adept at making sure I will avoid said circumstances or situations again, I kick myself over and over for some mistakes.

No, it’s not healthy.  And no, it’s not fair.  And even though it’s a fact of life that mistakes will come and mistakes will go, sometimes, regret lingers far longer than any ol’ lesson ever does.

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4 thoughts on “Now look what you did.

  1. Good post. The so called “learning from mistakes” has one major disadvantage: over intellectualizing, over thinking, and inability to take risks for the fear of repeating a mistake. It is in our innate nature to look for patterns. Not recognizing that sometimes little situational idiosyncrasies can hide from us can give us a false positive deja-vu.

  2. I think sometimes we think we know better and then beat ourselves up for what we already knew was wrong/bad. But the saying, “when you know better, you do better” comes to mind. Sometimes, the same lesson we think we’ve learned 12 times past Sunday isn’t really internalized.

    Last year, I kept running into the same kind of thing over and over again. I kept making what seemed like the same mistake, but there were subtleties I couldn’t see. Months later, I found myself finally being okay with my life in a way I never had been…and it suddenly clicked. I needed to bash my head into a wall a few times. That’s how I learn.

  3. Anything worth doing is worth doing badly at first… my spiritual mentor said that for years… truly years… while I thought in my head, “why does she say that wrong every time? The saying goes anything worth doing is worth doing well.”

    And in the way down deep recesses of my subconscious I thought it’s actually anything worth doing is worth doing perfectly or not at all. And that way of thinking kept me from daring, risking or trying for years as well.

    A master pianist does not wake up one morning, decide to sit down at the piano and proceed to play perfectly… nor does a person, say a not so tall, dark haired, feisty lady whose name starts with an F decide to take up running, biking and kayaking long distances one day and do so perfectly.

    I watch my kiddos get so frustrated sometimes and declare with great passion, ” I am not doing this EVER again, it’s TOO hard!” And I answer, “you know how you get to be really good at something… you keep doing it, cause if you never do it, you don’t ever give yourself the opportunity to do it well.”

    I will make mistakes… it’s part of the human condition… and I believe part of the reason we are here in the first place, to learn from our own unique human experience. Regret is like looking at the water churned up behind a boat… it keeps me focused on the mistake, keeps me focused on the past. I choose to live looking to the future, wind in my hair, sun on my face, at the front of the boat.

    I may have spent several years floundering around, making a mess of my relationships and in generally doing life very badly indeed. And by doing it very badly – I have learned A LOT of lessons along the way and can say today… I by no stretch of the imagination do life perfectly – but I do think I do it quite well with grace, joy, love and a lot of laughter.

    Great blog post! It reminded me to stay compassionate and gentle with myself. I am sending you lots of Love and Light and You are perfectly AWESOME right in the space you are in right at this moment energy.

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