When was the last time you were asked to do something new and unfamiliar to you, maybe at work or at school or even at home? How did that feel? I bet it was scary wasn’t it?
It might seem that some are just taking one challenge after another without thinking, but most of us are just sitting quietly and trying not to stop ourselves from another major screw-up. Am I right?
Sometimes I do find myself thinking why tf my life doesn’t move anywhere. Like I’m standing on the same step since… forever. But that’s the fear of making mistakes that keeps me away from living boldly. Do you feel that too?
‘A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new’ – Albert Einstein.
Since the day we were born society taught us that everything must be done in particular order following the methods that have already been taken and proven to be the best. We’ve been living in a world where we feel social pressure to act and speak in a certain way. We grew up seeing how everyone succeeds in applying the rules in whatever they do and at the same time we saw how society treats the ones who didn’t follow the masses and did something a bit differently, maybe not as good as it supposed to be, or not as Perfect. So it’s no surprise that we are afraid to cross the line and be a bit different.
Why mistakes are such a fuss?
We are used to looking down at something that isn’t done in a perfect way. The pressure to be perfect often takes away the curiosity and willingness to experience life. Especially nowadays, when it’s so easy to witness the perfect life that other people live. This glossy version of life on social media screams the failures of our own lives to our face. And instead of encouraging us to start loving our own lives or take action and change it the way we want to, it points out the parts that seem to be missing, or feels like we failed or ruined because of the lack of some kind of personal qualities.
We are terrified of making mistakes!
I remember I was so scared to make mistakes all my life. It’s better to do nothing then to look foolish, be judged by others, and then deal with all the unbearable shame and embarrassment that comes from inside…
Is there a way out?
I am still very far away from being as free as I would like to be, but I am in a way too better place than I was while going to school or university. I was really shy and silent, didn’t like to talk, to ask or answer in public… I was living a life driven by fear of looking foolish, being judged. But I remember hearing one very good saying, that I use until this day, that helped me to open up a little bit : ‘there is no such thing as a stupid question, just a stupid answer’.
But yes, despite that, there are some ways to reverse all of this mindset about making mistakes.
First of all, we must understand that there is no right or wrong way to live one’s life! What I want to do, you might hate doing it. What I love, you can’t stand. Where I want to go, you might avoid going. We are so different, our lives are so so different so why in the world do you think the way I live is the right way and the way you live is the wrong way? It’s super subjective, so don’t think too much.
Second, what we call a mistake is just an… Accident! There is no way you intentionally wanted to f*uck up your life! Obviously it’s not in all the cases, OK? I am fully aware that sometimes people do stupid things fully aware of what they are doing, but I’m talking about different mistakes. The ones that you made unconsciously, unintentionally, accidentally, using the knowledge you had at that very right moment. You’ve done the best you can. And it’s better an Oops than the What if. OK?
Third, give yourself permission to be imperfect and to try new things, to fail and look funny. Learn to be insecure and vulnerable. Learn to be open and curious, like children are! Especially when it comes to trying new things. We tend to focus on showing people that we are amazing and WE CAN DO IT. But instead of actually learning and developing new skills, we focus on keeping ourselves at the same I AM CAPABLE (or other worlds I am perfect) level where a slight failure means a defeat, a collapse of an empire. Once you let go and open up for new experiences you don’t see it as a mistake or failure, it becomes a lesson learned.
Another important thing that keeps us away from freedom is that we hold on very tight to our past mistakes. We remind ourselves of it EVERY.SINGLE.DAY, we judge and shame ourselves about it. You could do better. You should have done this. You should have done that. How stupid you are and so on. This kind of negative self-talk isn’t helpful at all. You put yourself in the misery of the past event, which you can’t change anyway, which keeps you away from the present moment and doesn’t help you to make better choices for your future.
Acknowledge – Forgive – Move on
When the mistake is made the first thing we should do is to acknowledge it. What’s done it’s done. It already happened and you can’t turn back time. Accept the fact that it happened and that it’s the part of your story now.
You’ve done your best with the tools you had at that moment. Judging and shaming won’t change anything. It’s better to look for an answer inside of you what was the reason you’ve done it in one way or another. Dig deeper into the roots of your thoughts, feelings and actions by asking ‘WHY?’. There might be unsolved traumas or issues which unconsciously come up when triggered by some events, where more compassion, more love and forgiveness is needed.
No matter how hard it might be to accept it to yourself that you made a mistake, to uncover the real YOU from the I-AM-PERFECT image, with a lot of kindness and unconditional forgiveness you have to move on. There is a life waiting for you to keep on going and showing your light.
‘Mistakes are a proof that you are trying.’ – Ernest Hemingway
So make as many mistakes as you can. Collect them and use them as stepping stones of your path to success.
Be brave. Live boldly. Make mistakes. Love.