Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.Bruce Lee
Do you find it hard to admit to yourself, or to others, that you made a mistake? Or, when you do make a mistake, do you beat yourself up mercilessly and give yourself no slack for it? Do you judge others who make mistakes and give little space for their humanity?
The reality which none of us like to admit is that all of us make mistakes. If we didn’t, that would mean that we were perfect, and perfectionism does not exist here on earth. We’re all human. Some of us may attempt to strive for perfection, however this is an unrealistic goal.
It Wasn’t Me
So many of my clients, and the people that I come in contact with, struggle with admitting mistakes. Some may be challenged by either judging one’s self, or others, for mistakes, or by not being able to take ownership of one’s own mistakes.
Do you find yourself blaming others for your mistakes?
- I would not have made that mistake if…
- It’s not my fault. If my boss didn’t …
- If only my partner hadn’t…
Do you measure your self worth by the number of mistakes you make, or not make? Is it hard to simply own a mistake and say,
- “I’m sorry, I’ll try to do better next time.”
Being the Bigger Person
I was inspired to write this article when I heard about the mistake that was made recently on the Oscars announcing the incorrect best picture of the year. The graciousness of the “La La Land” Producer, Jordan Horowitz, impressed many. When he was informed that the coveted award was not his, he simply stated, “I’m sorry, there’s a mistake, ‘Moonlight’, you guys won best picture. I’m going to be very proud to hand this to my friends from, ‘Moonlight.’”
He didn’t seek someone to blame, but instead acted incredibly courteous in a moment that had to have brought much disappointment to him, and the rest of the cast. Would you, or I, have been able to act with the same cordiality in such a moment? That may be determined, in part, by the environment, and the people, who raised us.
What we were taught as a child, an adolescent, or an adult, about mistakes helps to shape our beliefs about them. We must first consider, when growing up, what we were taught about mistakes. Was it communicated verbally, or non-verbally, that it is okay and human to make a mistake? Or were you ridiculed, or punished, for them?
Methods in which we might judge ourselves, or others, may be overt, or covert, and may also be quite subtle to the point that we aren’t aware of our behavior.
Oops, I made a mistake
As an adult do you find that the people in your life—partner, friend, or family, have little tolerance for mistakes and you are always apologizing, explaining, or feeling terrible or not good enough? Do you recognize any of these ways of communicating that a mistake has occurred? Consider whether you think such words to yourself, say them to others, or someone in your life says something like this to you.
For more tips on learning to accept mistakes, please click on the link below for my complete article.
My wish for you today is that you are able to accept, and embrace, the imperfections of yourself, and others.
-Kathleen Dwyer Blair, LCSW, BCD
Director Nassau Guidance and Counseling