‘That which does not kill us makes us stronger.’
We all make mistakes. And mostly, we all wish we didn’t.
Yet maybe there are benefits of making mistakes we should celebrate. Just as a mild illness or infection can give our bodies a cleansing boost, encouraging renewal, growth and learning in our cells. Our mistakes can be an opportunity to develop emotionally, in character, thought and action.
1. Mistakes make us stronger.
Each mistake we survive bolsters and strengthens our character. Giving us the confidence, the resilience, and the certainty that we can go on. We can take on tough challenges and we can survive.
2. Mistakes focus the mind on what really matters.
Mistakes help us focus on what we really want. When we mess up in our relationships and fear hurting, or even losing, those we love, our mistakes are a valuable wake up call. They can motivate and inspire us. Helping us to gain clarity and commitment, to try harder and to appreciate that which matters most.
3. Mistakes concentrate our attention and our energy.
Sometimes we get distracted. Like those awful moments where we’re driving along in auto-pilot, and suddenly we’re jolted sharply back to the present moment, our senses heightened and our attention keenly focussed. Realising we’ve had a lucky and narrow escape. We slow down. We feel dreadful, yet relieved. And then with an invigorating burst of new energy, we’re alert and aware, our mind concentrated on the task in hand and our actions deliberate and intentional.
4. Mistakes help us to learn and to grow.
When we make mistakes, we gain experience of what works and what doesn’t. The perfect reality check. Mistakes expose gaps in our knowledge and skills and provide new information to help us move forward. Stepping stones on our way to success, our mistakes present us with valuable feedback.
5. Mistakes fuel our understanding.
And there’s nothing like learning from our own mistakes for helping us get the point. The warnings and experiences of others have great merit and value. But immersed in the reality of making our own mistakes, the lessons we learn become infinitely more memorable, and make so much more sense. And gaining that understanding might just be what keeps us from making bigger mistakes in the future, mistakes that might be much harder to recover from.
6. Mistakes catapult our creativity.
We tried, and it didn’t work. And now we get the chance to try again but differently this time. Forcing us to consider alternatives, to search and discover new possibilities. Our mistakes can help us delve deep into our imaginations and harness our creativity, adjusting, adapting and responding to new information.
7. Mistakes become stories we can share.
We all love a good story. And recounting our failures can be fun, a chance to revel in the farcical, the foul ups and the fiascos we’ve all found ourselves in. Reminding us not to take ourselves too seriously, our laughter and our tears can be therapeutic, humbling for us and comforting for others.
8. Mistakes liberate us from the myth of perfection.
Sharing our mistakes in this way reassures us all. Perfection is a myth that can bind us, rooted to the spot, reluctant and fearful we don’t measure up. But our mistakes can be liberating, destroying the illusion of perfection, and freeing us and those around us from the cruel deception that everyone else has got it sorted.
9. Mistakes allow us to make amends.
When we make a mistake and it impacts the lives of others whether in a small or more significant way. We have a chance to make amends, to explain and to apologise. The opportunity to get to know each other better, to deepen our understanding and cement our connections.
10. Mistakes bring us closer together.
Being honest about our own mistakes can increase our empathy and compassion. Appreciating that mistakes are inevitable and that we ourselves have made many, can shape our response when we witness the mistakes of others. Rather than judging, insulting and blaming them, we can be kind and gentle.
And when the mistakes are ours, sometimes we need help to recover. Allowing others to give us a helping hand is a gift that isn’t always easy to give, but may be dearly treasured by those around us. Letting down our guard and exposing our vulnerability can be hard, but the rewards and the relationships we gain can be life-changing.
Our mistakes can hold immense power, a formidable force for shaping our character. When we get stuck in ruminating and rubbishing ourselves, that power can seriously impact our emotional health and well-being. But if we’re able to take a kinder path, and reflect on our mistakes with care, consideration and compassion we’re more likely to appreciate the messages and the lessons they offer.
Yes, it can be hard to pick ourselves up with grace and with style. But my wish for you and for me is that next time we make a mistake we remember there are bound to be benefits, even if we can’t imagine what they might be in the moment. And that we’re as kind and compassionate to ourselves as we’d wish to be to anyone else we love.
Have a wonderful week, and may all your mistakes be little ones x
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