Making Mistakes Are Okay

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It’s okay to make mistakes.  

I think, people, everyday, everywhere, are often too hard on themselves for making mistakes.  We often find ourselves striving for perfection, with very little room for acceptable error.  In my opinion, perfection is an unachievable standard designed to create emotional suffering.

My Take On Perfection 

Perfection is an illusion, because nothing in the natural world is flawless.  You might see symmetry and order all around you, (half the time, it’s your brain filling in gaps to help you make sense of things), but look a little closer, and you will notice slight variations that make everything unique and different- not 100% perfect.

Perfection can be difficult to obtain, not only because it is an illusion, but also because perfection is nothing more than a matter of opinion.  My idea of perfection is probably different from your idea of perfection.  Unfortunately, differences in opinions, can lead to criticism, and I think that is why striving for perfection can be so destructive.

My OCD Brain – The Perfectionist 

My OCD brain is a perfectionist, but I am not.

I don’t have a need to strive for perfection; mostly, because I accept chaos, I don’t believe in perfection, and I enjoy being an odd-ball.  But, my Fight or Flight Response System seems to gauge danger based on the assumption of perfection.  One slight difference from the so-called norm and my Fight or Flight Response System’s alarm is sounding off, triggering anxiety, and forcing my OCD brain to respond the only way it knows how- with OCD.

Of course, my OCD is a bully and it tries to use perfection against me to create self-doubt.  I make one tiny mistake and my OCD brain is all over it!  It just won’t let it go; especially, if other people address and criticize my mistakes- my OCD is all over that!  I end up dwelling on my mistakes.  Of course, I naturally feel bad whenever I make a mistake, but my OCD brain will try to make me feel as if I am the worst person on the planet.   From there, I begin to doubt myself.  “I am not good enough.  I always make mistakes.  I can’t do anything right, etc. etc.”  And, sure enough, that can lead to catastrophic thinking: “If I try, I will fail, and something bad might happen if I fail.”  A destructive thinking cycle.

Mistakes Are Okay, Everyone Makes Them

Everyone makes mistakes!  The wisest of all wise minds have made mistakes.  The greatest of all great minds have made mistakes.  Making mistakes are crucial to learning!   Also, it’s kind of a human thing to do.

Image result for einstein mistakes quote

Although some mistakes come with consequences, one of the many reasons many of us don’t like making mistakes, they are also important in teaching us life lessons to help us grow and become better versions of ourselves.  Don’t be mistaken though, for that mistakes can lead to wonderful discoveries!  Have you ever heard of silly putty! 

10 Ways to overcome our emotions after making a mistake

  1. Own your mistakes.  Acknowledge, apologize, and accept, that you made a mistake and if the mistake can be fixed, do your best to fix it.
  2. Forgive yourself!
  3. Learn from your mistakes.  Every mistake is a lesson to be learned.
  4. Understand that everyone makes mistakes- you’re not alone!
  5. Accept that nobody is perfect, even those who may criticize you for your mistakes- they’ve made mistakes too. 
  6. Mistakes are bad decisions due to poor judgement or lack of knowledge, usually not because of purposeful evil intentions.
  7. Mistakes do not define failure.   Allow your mistakes to encourage you to strive for success.   “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try, again!”
  8. Laugh about it!  We all make silly embarrassing mistakes time from time.  The best thing to do, is just to laugh them off and move on.
  9. Accept that not all mistakes can be forgiven or fixed – that’s just Life.
  10. Good people make mistakes too!

Mistakes Are Forgivable

In my opinion, mistakes are forgivable, just not everyone has the ability to forgive.

Forgiveness can be difficult, especially, when the heart strings are pulled too tight.  Emotions make forgiveness tough for everyone.  But, the most important part, is forgiving yourself for your own mistakes.

Forgiving yourself first, may open the door for others to follow and express forgiveness too.  However, in order to forgive yourself, you must accept that others may not forgive you.  It’s tough to forgive yourself, especially, if those who are not willing to forgive, are making you feel bad for the mistakes you have made.

If you made a mistake that caused emotional pain to another, acknowledge and apologize for your mistake(s), understand their point of view, offer to correct your mistake(s), accept the consequences, and forgive yourself.

Forgiving yourself allows you to move on, when others can’t.  If the other person cannot forgive you for making a mistake, even after you have apologized and fixed (or tried to fix) your mistake, the problem is out of your hands.  Sometimes we end up dwelling on our own mistakes, because other people don’t (or can’t) let go.

Forgive But You Do Not Have To Forget

The inability to forgive, creates grudges and I am not a fan of grudges.  Personally, I just don’t have the time and energy to hold onto a grudge.  I am a type of person who forgives and forgets.

I forgive myself for making mistakes and I forgive others who make mistakes.   Mistakes just happen and thus, to me, I don’t think mistakes are a big deal.  I mean, of course some mistakes can be major problems, but I strongly believe with a little teamwork, all honest mistakes can be fixed.  Like, instead of criticizing someone for making an honest mistake, why not just try to help them (work together) to fix their mistake?  Makes it much easier for everyone to move on without holding onto a grudge.

But, again, there are some people who are just forever- grudge holders.  There is nothing you can do or say to make up for your mistakes.  And, you know what, that is totally fine!  

Grudge-holders are hanging onto emotions attached to past actions.  This is something they need to work out on their own.  I once advised a friend of mine (who openly acknowledges being a “Major Grudge Holder”), that it is completely okay to never forget, but for the sake of their own emotions, they should at least forgive.

What is Forgiveness- Greater Good Magazine 

The act of forgiveness is for you, not the person asking for forgiveness.  In my opinion, forgiveness doesn’t mean the actions of others are okay.  Forgiveness is, more or less, accepting that such unfortunate actions had occurred, allowing you to move past your own emotions (anger, hurt, embarrassment, or whatever).  However, you certainly do not have to forget.

Smile, Breathe, and Dust Yourself Off

The next time you make an honest mistake- smile, breathe, and dust yourself off.  Everything is going to be okay!  Everyone makes mistakes!  It’s all part of being human!

Check out this interesting link below about conquering fears by making mistakes on purpose!

Why You Should Make Mistakes On Purpose – Psychology Today

 

Do you think forgiveness is easy or difficult?  Why?