IT’S WHAT YOU DO AFTER THAT SHOWS WHO YOU ARE!
Life is messy! People are messy! Relationships are messy! Work is messy!
And we all make mistakes, most likely every single day. Some are big, some are small and some we don’t even notice or they don’t get noticed – but we do make them.
I believe it is not the issue of making mistakes but how we deal with these when they happen.
“If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.” — John Wooden
One way we tend to handle mistakes is through self-justification. This is something we all do once in a while but some people do it all of the time and I am sure you know these kinds of people. No matter how grave the mistake, they are never at fault and sometimes even manage to victimise themselves even if they are in the wrong. The problem here is though, that self-justifications tend to distort reality. The more you use them, the more you create this alternate life for yourself. This often leads to a much-decreased ability to make good choices, as the information you are using to do so is terribly flawed. This can keep you from the people as well as pursuits that could have actually been good for you and changed your life for the better.
“The greatest of faults, I should say, is to be conscious of none.” —Thomas Carlyle
Even if it’s not possible to be aware of all of our self-justification blind spots, it is possible, and desirable, to cultivate greater awareness and ownership of our behavior and mistakes, especially those of a meaningful nature. What you need to know about self-justification is though that it is a cold, hard relationship killer, as it causes us to build a case of total blame against another person when things are going poorly.
If you manage to own up to a mistake as soon as you make it and do your best to correct it or make it right, you have a sporting chance to prevent it from turning into a huge problem that’s going to be difficult or even impossible to solve. A snowballed mistake may torpedo various aspects of your relationships and career before you can get yourself out from under it.
“Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.” — Bruce Lee
The one thing that is indisputably true is you can’t learn from your mistakes if you are unable to acknowledge you’ve actually made them! And if you don’t learn from your mistakes, you’re most likely doomed to repeat them. That is most certainly a recipe for quickly going absolutely nowhere in life.
“Any man can make mistakes, but only an idiot persists in his error.” — Marcus Tullius Cicero
The biggest mistake we can make is to try to hide our mistakes from other people. We are so worried that they could think less of us once they’ve seen that we simply messed things up. But, frankly acknowledging your mistakes, owning them, apologizing for them,
and then sincerely working to make things right almost always has the opposite effect – people will respect you for it. Of course, there might still be consequences, but people will appreciate your honesty. And if they use your confession as a way to belittle and use you, those are probably not the kind of people you want around you anyway. It is actually when you try to hide your mistakes, and they’re found out after all, that people lose their respect and more importantly their trust in you.
“A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them.” — John C. Maxwell
I believe that what you need to be able to own your mistakes is a healthy level of humility. It is often those who are or appear most confident, to the point of narcissism, who have the greatest challenge admitting their shortcomings; the gap between their behavior and their self-image is so wide, the dissonance so strong, that they readily reach for justifications that keep their self-image appearing flawless.
What usually makes you realise that you have made a mistake is that nagging little thing called conscience that seems to kick in – unless you are a complete sociopath. As we don’t like this feeling we all turn to self-justification now and again as the mistake we have made seems perhaps such a small and even insignificant thing at the time. What we tend to ignore is that these little things quickly develop a life of their own and seem to grow faster than we could have imagined. It is as if our ego defense system kicks in automatically. It really takes a kind of courage to be able to tune into the discomfort that we feel when having made a mistake, to simply sit with that tension even as your brain screams to make it go away. It takes courage to take an honest look at what role you may have had in precipitating that situation.
What can really help is having people around you that are honest with you and hold you accountable for your actions. It may not always be pleasant and comfortable and they may not even always be right, but if you have people like this around you, cherish them as the treasures that they are. They will not tell you what you want to hear but what you need to hear out of love.
“Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.” — Steve Jobs
The one thing we all need to get over is the idea that making mistakes = being stupid! We will most likely not be applauded for messing up or making mistakes, but we can most definitely use mistakes and learn from them, and owning them will definitely earn you the trust and respect of the people who matter.
But there is one thing you should always keep in mind. People tend to find it far easier to forgive people for being wrong rather than being right!
🎶My Song of the Week
📚My Poem of the Week
Once again I turn to Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919)
God sent us here to make mistakes, To strive, to fail, to re-begin, To taste the tempting fruit of sin, And find what bitter food it makes. To miss the path, to go astray, To wander blindly in the night; But, searching, praying for the light, Until at last we find the way. And looking back along the past, We know we needed all the strain Of fear and doubt and strife and pain To make us value peace, at last. Who fails, finds later triumph sweet; Who stumbles once, walks then with care, And knows the place to cry "Beware" To other unaccustomed feet. Through strife the slumbering soul awakes, We learn on error's troubled route The truths we could not prize without The sorrow of our sad mistakes.
I don’t tire of the morning view from my balcony.
If you would like to connect with me, find out more about the Enneagram and yourself, and how it can transform you and your life, I would be happy to take the time for a speed coaching call that you can reserve right here go to my website or simply hit reply and get in touch with me directly.
Wishing you a wonderful start to your weekend and I very much look forward to your feedback and comments!