Our mistakes won’t irreparably damage our lives unless we let them. James E. Sweaney
We are fortunate that most of our mistakes are never fatal. It is only in an extremely rare case like being involved in a fatal accident where your mistake has taken lives that you will always live with the guilt of your mistake. Despite counseling one will find it hard to erase that colossal mistake from one’s psyche forever. As you are right now reading this post, you have not made the gravest mistake of all, committing suicide. Every other mistake can be faced even if it cannot be corrected and that is why when the turmoil and pain of the mistake subsides every person can take charge of his / her life and pursue their own path of excellence.
The one mistake that you cannot correct is the mistaken belief that your follies condemn you to a life of misery, guilt and worthlessness. It is therefore necessary for each of us to look back and reflect on our mistakes, be it as trivial as bullying others in school or copying in exams or more serious infractions like physical abuse of someone you resented or stealing and mugging. The normal tendency is to first rationalize the mistake as necessary under the circumstance but with age and maturity we may suddenly feel guilty and remorseful. This is a critical stage when many people find it hard to pardon themselves of the mistakes that have hurt others. Their inability to apologize or make amends for the mistake, is a cross too heavy for them to bear and they are racked with guilt and in acute cases leads to depression and illness. Good counseling and the realization that they can make amends by being even more conscientious individuals will go a long way in them getting rid of their misery brought on by guilt.
Take the case of a young boy who despite being warned, plays with a ball within the house and breaks a priceless family heirloom. The immediate response would be a sound thrashing and an earful of choicest abuse. What is worse is being constantly berated and warned that his indiscretion has cost the family a heavy loss. Long after the boy has reached adulthood if the same charge is leveled at family gatherings the young man is bound to be deeply hurt and traumatized and then begins a tryst with his psychological rehabilitation. On the other hand if the young man is counseled that his mistake has proved very costly but the family forgives him, he would be remorseful but his self image would not be thrashed and tarnished. In any case, it is imperative that the person be made aware of the mistake but equally important that he not be crucified for the one mistake many times.
A very common mistake people make is to confuse failure as irreparable and a colossal mistake made by them. Be it failure in exams or business or marriage, errors of judgment , failure to foresee the future, taking undue risks etc. are mistakes that often even the most intelligent people make. It is interesting to note that there will not be a single person who has never erred. It is the people who try to escape from their mistakes who ultimately become failures. They could turn to addictions like drowning their sorrows in drinks or constantly remaining in an inebriated state or hiding from the law for fear of the law punishing them or the worst cowards prefer to take their life. When you confront your mistakes only then can you fight it and emerge victorious. A mistake after all is only a little blip in the wonderful life of yours; why let that blip become a constant beep in your life?
Remember: “All men make mistakes, but only wise men learn from their mistakes.”Winston Churchill
- List out the mistakes you made yesterday. Ask how many of them were fatal? How many were serious mistakes? Why did you make those mistakes? Was it carelessness; misunderstanding; ignorance; doing work mechanically; not being diligent etc. How do you think you can avoid these mistakes? What other corrective measures did you take?
- What was the worst mistake you made in your life? How did you cope with it? Is that mistake still rankling you and disturbing you? Have you apologized for the mistake? How did you make amends for the mistake?
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