SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT MISTAKES:
From the beginnings of her emergence, the Mommy-inside me lovingly assured me that mistakes are things that happen in everyone’s lives, frequently: “no one can do everything right all of the time,” she said! She’s helped me to understand a whole lot about so-called mistakes: They do not make us bad or wrong. They are nothing about which we have to feel shamed or humiliated. They can provide us with chances to learn more about what we’re involved in or about what we’re trying to do. They give us the opportunity to stretch and grow. If we’re afraid of mistakes, we rob ourselves of the adventure of exploring our furthest edges. Fixing a mistake sometimes opens us to whole new possibilities, to waking up our inventiveness and creativity. Sometimes, what looks like a mistake is really a doorway-in-disguise that leads to something unexpected and magical and nourishing!
When I make mistakes these days, even the really big ones involving clients or hurting someone’s feelings, I still feel very sorry to have done that. I’m able to listen easily and caringly to everything the person has to say to me about the pain/upset my actions (words or inaction) have set in motion. I can listen openly even when they might be very furious with me. I’m able to take responsibility for and able to own the truth of what I did/said/didn’t do. I’m able to express my deepest, most sincere regret for having created, by my words/actions/inaction, the space for such pain and grief. And, I’m willing and able to look with the other person or just with myself at what there is that I might do to make amends or how I might avoid making the same mistake again.
What I no longer do is feel like a terrible, worthless person. Nor do I feel shamed or humiliated. Nor do I feel that everything good about me is invalidated by this misstep. Nor do I berate and verbally abuse myself for simply being a fallible human being.
When we can acknowledge that we might well have done something terrible, without falling into feeling we’re a terrible person, we’re so much more available to the person we’ve injured. We can make room to fully hear their upset and anger. We can be listening attentively instead of trying to defend, justify or explain ourselves as they are trying to express themselves to us. And, we don’t contribute the tangle of creating a situation in which the one we have injured feels that sharing their upset will be devastating to our self-esteem. This allows a healing to happen. Be especially gentle and loving with your fallible, mistake-making simply human self.