No one is perfect. No one can say they've never done something they regretted. But sometimes we hold on too tightly to those faults. We scrutinize them, distressing ourselves over the details, and make a bigger deal out of it than anyone else probably is.
Messing up hurts. It hurts others, it hurts ourselves, and it hurts our confidence. It's embarrassing, shameful and painful. But it doesn't always have to be. How often do we look back and think, "Well, that's the day I learned not to drink coffee and text and listen to the radio and drive at the same time?" (Okay, bad example.)
Moral of the story: how often are we thankful for our mistakes? Here's five reasons why we should be.
1. Mistakes show us who we really are.
With every blunder, we learn something about ourselves. A weakness we need to change, a strength that can get out of hand, our limits and our capabilities ... a mistake is the perfect chance to grow. Listen to your failures. They're trying to tell you something.
2. Mistakes teach us what we'll never forget.
Mistakes = experience. They simply show us something we didn't know before. The moment we look at mistakes as lessons rather than failures, we lose our fear of imperfection. Mistakes exist to guide us, not define us, after all.
In one of my favorite moments from L. M. Montgomery's "Anne of Green Gables," Anne Shirley says, "But have you ever noticed one encouraging thing about me, Marilla? I never make the same mistake twice." (Of course, Marilla responds, "I don't know as that's much benefit when you're always making new ones." But still.)
3. Mistakes teach us how to forgive.
...both ourselves and others. With every blunder, we realize how important it is to be kind to ourselves and to the people surrounding us. We are all flawed, we are all struggling, we are all growing. Perfection might not exist, but forgiveness and improvement sure do.
“The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that that situation is over, you cannot move forward.”
- Steve Marabol
4. Mistakes train us to let go of our fears.
Why are we so afraid of being imperfect? Success can't exist without failure. I promise: it's better to live a life with lessons learned than a lifetime with the regret of never even trying.
5. Mistakes are stepping stones to success.
Stay calm. Failure is proof that you're trying, that you're making progress, that you're going somewhere. Mistakes are a form of practice. After all, every great artist was once an amateur. As humans, our job is to evolve and to grow, not to be perfect. So wherever you are in life right now, don't give up. Keep pushing forward. You've got this!