Making mistakes is a natural part of life, but can they benefit us in the future and how do we actually learn from mistakes?
Let’s get one thing straight, we all make mistakes. It doesn’t matter what our age or gender is, what our background or class is, or what we do for a living. Life is a journey, and there is no instruction manual, it’s just a lot of trial and error. Sometimes more error than we would like, but it doesn’t need to have a negative impact on your life or hold you back.
As a baby learning to walk, you often slipped and stumbled. The times you fell down helped you to learn what worked and what didn’t. You kept trying and eventually figured it out and off you went, toddling around the house.
The key being that you did not give up, you weren’t afraid to make a mistake and you learned from any mistakes that you did make.
Throughout life, when we don’t learn from our mistakes, we can inflict unnecessary stress and suffering on ourselves and those around us, sometimes for many years. We can feel hurt when things don’t go the way we want them to, and sometimes display negative emotions such as anger or deep sadness, which in turn may lead to negative behaviours and a downward spiral.
It is important to understand that adversity is sometimes needed to overcome challenges in life. And no matter how good someone’s life may seem; they will always face challenges.
But the good news is that you can use mistakes as opportunities for learning, especially for learning about yourself.
Try reflecting on a past mistake or view it from a different perspective. How you could have reacted differently? What action could you have taken to avoid or overcome the mistake more quickly? How would you advise your best friend if they were going through the same experience? What could you do differently next time if you’re faced with a similar challenge?
The most important life lessons we will ever learn, will be from the mistakes we made, how we handled things, and what we took away from them afterwards so we can handle things better in the future.
Everything you are exposed to in life presents you with valuable lessons.
Not only can you learn from your own experiences, but also the experiences of other people in your life, or even total strangers. Sometimes the stories of others can serve as the most meaningful lessons as they allow you to observe from an outside point of view. Reading an autobiography can be a good way of assessing someone’s situation to see what you would have done, or how you think they could have dealt with it differently.
However, mistakes do not need to be seen as a negative experience. Mistakes can help you learn to be resilient. When you embrace failure, and even be open to making mistakes, you can grow, and feel confident that you tried something. You can learn from it if it didn’t work out and try again with your newfound knowledge of what didn’t work.
“If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down, but the staying down.” – Mary Pickford
Mistakes can give you courage too. You become a stronger person each time you acknowledge your mistakes and move on to do better next time. You come to understand that being brave is all about admitting to your faults, growing from them, and getting back up to try again.
We learn to appreciate those who have helped us and learn to deal with the people who have done us wrong. Each time we make a mistake, we get to see a different side of the people we thought we knew, as well as a different side to ourselves, which makes us wiser in the end.
The only way to prevent making the same mistakes over and over is to learn from them.
Making mistakes helps you understand that your biggest enemy can often be yourself. If you learn to reflect on your mistakes, you can become stronger as you start to see your own strengths and weaknesses and how they impact your life.
“Well, we all make mistakes, so just put it behind you. We should regret our mistakes and learn from them, but never carry them forward into the future with us.” – Lucy Maud Montgomery
Sometimes it can be hard to admit (even to yourself) the mistakes you have made or see how you may have contributed to the situations you have found yourself in. If you need some help to move past emotional issues or help to see things from a different perspective, psychotherapeutic counselling can give you the space and guidance you need to reflect, learn and grow from mistakes, to help you handle things differently next time and help you move on from past suffering.
Contact me today if you would like to discuss how I can help you move forward and embrace life more positively.