“Your life is your responsibility. Identify the areas that are dysfunctional, make a list of the needed changes, and make a plan!” – Iyanla Vanzant
I make mistakes. I make them daily. This is not easy to admit since I’m a self-proclaimed perfectionist. I dislike making mistakes, despite it being a way to learn how to do whatever it is I’m doing right. Mistakes are done in a myriad of ways but it all boils down to one thing: they are actions stemming from a decision we’ve made. Whether or not it originated with us or we’re executing a decision made by others, mistakes happen.
I can name at least seven mistakes I’ve made over the course of the last week. Did I want to make them? No. Did I make them? Yes I did. But that’s not the point. The point I’m making is that I did it. I am the Me that one can find in each of those mistakes. I am the common denominator of all of those mistakes. Knowing this makes me okay with my place in the chain of action because if it starts with me, it can definitely end with me. Even if someone else actually makes the ending action, I can be the catalyst that starts the reversal or the correction of the mistake. Sometimes just owning the mistake can be the beginning of the end of the issue at hand.
Earning respect may not always come easy. It takes mores than saying “yes or no sir” or “yes or no ma’am” to be respected. Mistakes do more than just show weaknesses. Mistakes build and show character. Mistakes teach lessons. Mistakes give a better critique of how well you’ve learned a certain thing than successful repetition will ever give. The lessons one learn when mistakes are made are crucial for success. It toughens and strengthens those who make the mistake. It makes them vulnerable and it reminds them that they are human. Yes, it’s a humbling experience to go through but the question still remains: when the dust settles, then what? How you respond to your mistake or your part of a mistake will make all the difference in the world.
In order to find the me in mistake, one must own their “stake” of the mistake outright. In doing so, they now understand what needs to be amended. Next, they need to realize that punishing or demoralizing oneself about the mistake does nothing to correct it and may even diminish the lesson it was supposed to teach. It’s like a makeup artist attempting to teach a student how to properly apply eyeliner on a volunteer but the student keeps wiping off the eyeliner because they did not apply it correctly. The student would never learn if they continue to wipe off the eyeliner as punishment for a prior mistake. And we, too, will never learn from our mistakes if we continue punishing ourselves for it.
After realizing there is a lesson to learn from it, see your strength and stand in the knowledge that you are not your mistake. You’re stronger, wiser, more determined and more capable of completing the task at hand. Do not get stuck looking in the rear view mirror when you are trying to drive forward. We never drive our cars by solely looking in the rear view mirror. We look through the windshield and look past our headlights in order to press on. We brag about the horsepower and engine in our cars for the power to move forward. We discuss the front-wheel, rear-wheel, all-wheel drive method of how our cars propel us forward. We talk about the type of fuel it takes and the best tires for the car. This is exactly how we should discuss ourselves after a mistake. Like the rear view mirror, we should look at our past mistake as the direction we don’t want to go and then focus our attention through the windshield to see how we can move forward. Like the horsepower and engine of our vehicles, we should put forth energy to take the lesson we’ve learned to move past the mistake. Like the driving method of our cars that propel us forward, the will to do better should push us forward. Like the fuel of our cars and the tires, realizing we are not our mistakes should give us the power to carry ourselves to greatness.
Until next time, understand we are human. Mistakes are meant to be made by us because we’re all imperfect beings. Just learn from them, use the lesson to grow and be thankful that you’ve are able to be bettered by them. I’m not saying this will be easy to do. I’m not saying that how you’re bettered will be a wonderful thing. What I’m saying is that your education has now been enhanced by an experience that you may not have had otherwise. Just remember, it’s all in how you handle it.