When I first got sober I was under the delusion that in order to stay sober, I had to become perfect in all areas.
It got worse when I trained to be a therapist. Because I was a therapist I thought I needed to always be serene, wise and know the right thing to say.
I needed to exude a calm, reassuring confident manner with everyone, not just my clients.
But no matter how hard I tried, I would f**k up.
I would say something that inadvertedly hurt someone’s feelings, or I would forget to do something I said I would or…..well I was plainly very far from perfect. No matter how hard I tried, I always seemed to mess up.
Let me tell you, trying to be perfect is an uncomfortable and suffocating place to be.
As long as we take the opportunity to grow and learn from our mistakes, there is actually great freedom and liberation in making them.
Mistakes have a massive potential to stimulate spiritual and emotional growth.
The gifts that mistakes can bring into your life should not be underestimated.
I would even go as far as saying that mistakes is the point of life.
Does that sound crazy?
Well look at a young child, every single part of their learning and growth comes from making mistakes! Learning to walk for instance, they fall over, bump into things, even hurt themselves. They get it wrong a lot, before they get it right.
We never ever look at them and say ‘well maybe he’s just not a walker’.
We know that every time they fall over they learn something vital.
Making mistakes is just part of the learning process.
But something happens when we become adults, that permission we had as kids to mess up disappears and we develop a faulty belief system that we are not allowed to mess up.
That it’s wrong to mess up.
Mistakes are bad.
Of course, we do mess up all the time because it’s a vital part of the human experience.
Because we misunderstand the purpose of mistakes, we are then filled with guilt and shame and these feelings block the learnings and growth the mistake contains.
Mistakes are really just gifts in terrible packaging.
If we don’t see the ‘gift’ then we are doomed to repeat the same mistake over and over because we haven’t learnt what we needed to learn.
Once a child has mastered learning to walk there are then numerous other tasks they have to learn. And that never ever stops.
All that learning is enhanced by the information their mistakes give them. Kids just know this. Adults have forgotten.
How long we want to take, to learn the next thing that is needed for our growth as human beings, is really up to us.
Of course when we finally learn what we need to learn, we just move on to the next
mistake learning and growth opportunity.
Which why I have come to the conclusion that mistakes are the juice of life.
I don’t know where we got the idea that making a mistake was wrong or bad. Or, why we get so ashamed or embarrassed when we make them, but part of the reason we keep making the same mistakes over and over, is because we think they are something to run from, rather than embrace.
Mistakes are often uncomfortable and can sometimes be frightening. Their primary purpose is often to get us to see something we don’t want to see, often about ourselves. Because that information scares us we tend to rationalize the mistake we’ve made as being someone else’s or something else’s fault, and therefor miss the learning and growth opportunity. Blame always feels easier in the short-term.
But if we can summon the courage to look a little deeper into our mistake there is often vital information for us and I have generally found that information to be freedom giving.
Mistakes are really the keys to freedom.
Think about about that.
What mistake have you just made, that you could look at as a pathway to freedom, rather than a tool to punish?
I know I just made plenty.