1. An error or fault resulting from defective judgement, deficient knowledge, or carelessness.
2. A misconception or misunderstanding.
When I read these definitions, I feel an instant sense of uneasiness. It’s no wonder that most of us have grown up believing that we need to avoid making mistakes like the plague.
We are conditioned from an early age to “do things correctly” and not “mess up”, both at school and in our homes. If you were lucky, you had parents and teachers who taught this to you in a healthy way without damaging your sense of self-worth. While others may have had to endure criticism, shame, and sometimes abuse.
No matter how we were taught, as members of the global community, it is necessary for us to be aware of the basic rules and social norms required to be a good citizen. This is especially more important in high-risk situations where a mistake could potentially result in a big price to pay.
A simple error in judgment can lead to painful consequences that we sometimes cannot undo. Speak to anyone who is in prison or on death row right now and they will confirm this.
However, I don’t think all mistakes are created equal. When it comes to achieving our goals and objectives, I believe that making mistakes is a GOOD thing and an integral part of making progress towards our achievement.
We are all born with a blank slate and therefore will need to follow learning curves in all areas of our lives. If we are overly cautious, we could potentially miss out on valuable learning experiences that are part of the discovery and character-building process.
Yet there may have been some decisions in your life in which you wish you had chosen differently. Letting go of a sweetheart, not changing a habit that cost you your health, accumulating bad debt– the list could go on and on.
I myself still have moments when I have to tend to old wounds that come from regrets, but I’ve learned that even though healing might be a lifelong process, it becomes easier to deal with when you are able to perceive these regrets as stepping stones towards what you really want.
Realizing that you can’t change what happened in the past but you have the power to interpret it in a way that serves you in the present moment. Also knowing that you did the best that you could, based on the aptitude, knowledge and consciousness you had at that moment in time.
Through this shift in my thinking, I have come to see the tremendous value and wisdom that resulted from the choices that I was not proud of. I believe that if you have made any of the 3 so-called “mistakes” in your past, you have a lot to be thankful for. Here’s why:
- You fell in love with the wrong person: Yes, I realize how painful heartbreak can be, so this one may be a tough one to understand. Having made this mistake myself, I can tell you that even though it did hurt, this loss not only made me a more compassionate person, but I also learned about my capacity to care and feel for another human being.
- You quit a high-paying but dead-end job: A lot of people are tempted by the allure of a glamorous profession that pays well even it does not feed your spirit. Being in a career that does not fulfill you, will eventually force you to face the truth of your situation and do the soul searching that you need to get back onto a path that is in alignment with your true self and your passions. Only when you face the pain of dissatisfaction will you be willing to do the inner-work and take a leap of faith.
- You said “no” to a friend/family member/partner: Our inner circle is often filled with moochers or people who do not respect our boundaries. These are people who I call “energy vampires”, or Dr. Phil calls “Baiters”, who make unreasonable requests on your time and may even deceive you. Based on my experiences, these people tend to use manipulative tactics such as giving you guilt-trips (and several others) to make you give into their requests. If you have been brave enough to stand up for yourself in the past, it is something you definitely should not regret, no matter how bad others make you feel about your decision.
Our mission during our lifetime is to continue to fine tune our sensibilities and discernment to grow in maturity and wisdom. As we evolve, we must strive to improve our ability to extract the wisdom out of all your experiences, both good and bad. In this way, you will build your capacity to use your voice to educate and heal other people who may need your guidance.
All my best on your journey,
Question for you: Are there any regrets that you need to make peace with? What initial steps can you take to let go of your attachment to these regrets?
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