Updated: Jul 24, 2020
Mistakes can be appreciated as opportunities for lessons; alternatively, we can scorn mistakes, and paint them to look like idiocy. In the latter type of atmosphere, where we speak negatively of mistakes, people harbor their feelings and resent their choices. When you spend a lot of your “thinking time” focused on the feelings you have when disappointed or embarrassed, before too long, regret seeps into the mind. As regret runs its course, fear and paranoia appear in the thought process like weeds in a garden after the first spring rain. Those weeds grow their own flowers, but the difference between your flowers and the weeds is that the weeds aren’t flowers you want. Just like other human traits and tendencies, the more you do something, the more that thing becomes a part of you. The more you think positively, the more positive things you see. How many people do you know live with resentment of their mistakes instead of appreciating the lessons learned from their choices? Which type of person are you?
When you can train yourself to live in a way where you see mistakes as opportunities to learn, it becomes easier to approach every encounter as a test and lesson. When you decide that every choice is your own and you will hold yourself accountable for them, you make it easier to live without the burdens that come with constant regret. I think of gardeners as an example. The mistakes you make as a gardener can translate into success for future plants if you pay close attention to your choices and the plants’ reactions. A key part of this process is awareness. With awareness, we can take notes and make changes. It takes patience to be aware and it takes integrity to go over those notes and follow through on changes. This reflection is where another series of choices is made. Many of us get to this point, but don't take the time necessary to reflect in a healthy way. There are those who choose to reflect and make the choice to learn, grow, and continue to exchange, and there are those who rush to conclusions, often ending up with the rhetoric that comes with a regretful mindset. Regret can turn into a type of barrier, and often it does because we don’t have the objectivity to see the lesson. Sometimes the lesson might be to create a boundary.
The difference between a boundary and a barrier is that a boundary lets you observe or monitor the other side. A boundary is a barrier without the fear and lack of control. Sometimes it feels like our choices might be pulling us down and we lose sight of what can be done. Looking at your mistakes earnestly and objectively, and taking a lesson from them takes practice. The more you practice the more you’ll recognize that, in any situation, you have the opportunity to study the variables and create an outcome that is steered in the direction you desire. In conclusion, if you decide that your life has been a series of tests, then you will have an intricate answer sheet to pull knowledge from. In contrast, if you see every mistake as failure and allow your mind to get pulled down in the direction of fear, paranoia and defeat, then it gets harder and harder to navigate your life and your choices. The ideals of success come from learning from failures while the ideals of failure are rooted in ignoring the lessons you could learn. Your perception is the only thing keeping your next obstacle from being a test versus a burden, or a mistake versus a choice you’re learning from. Likewise, your perception is a key factor in changing your haunting and embarrassing memories into lessons versus barriers that create walls for you where you don’t want them.