To be honest, I don’t like the word ‘mistake’. It conjures up images of school teachers, punishment, penance and makes me feel like a naughty child. I instantly feel smaller as if somehow I have shrunk like Alice in Wonderland.
And how do you recognise that something is a mistake? It is not until a choice you made turns out differently than you hoped for, that you categorise it as an ‘error’ or ‘mistake’.
But surely at the time it was what you wanted?
They say hindsight is 20/20 but when we look back, we often forget the thoughts and emotions which were a part of the decision at the time. And when we judge something as a mistake, we also tend to judge ourselves for our poor ‘judgement’. The minute you judge yourself, you become the taskmaster, the school teacher or the priest who is looking to punish you for a ‘wrongdoing’.
Every time you judge yourself, you break your own heart
Some of the changes which happen in life, are not things you would actively choose for yourself but instead the result of someone else’s decisions. Even in this case, you can be tempted to look back and question why you didn’t see a truth which now appears so obvious. But I want you to think about something.
I know I am not the same person I was when I was 20, nor will I be the person I am today, in 20 years time. This is true for everyone I know and also for you. My friends, my family, we all grow, change and often the things we wanted at one stage of our life no longer bring us happiness at another. Life is not a straight line but a constantly evolving exciting and unpredictable journey. And sometimes we just want to experience something new.
Before we make a decision to move toward something, we create a vision in our mind of what it will look like. What our life will look like with the addition we have made. And with that vision comes a set of expectations. Expectations that say that we will be happier, that it will last forever, that … fill in the blanks. But no matter how much we want life to live up to our expectations, it never does and the disappointment we feel when things change can leave us feeling like a failure.
But why would you beat yourself up for making a ‘mistake’ when in fact things have simply changed? Sometimes it’s you that has changed, sometimes someone else and at other times it is the circumstances around you that have altered.
They key is to change the way you look at your choices. Both the choices you have already made and the many which you will make throughout the rest of your life.
In fact why don’t you take a moment right now to make a decision?
Make the decision to see your life as a series of choices which bring experiences. Some of these may feel painful, others joyful and some frightening. But each and every one of them brings something amazing to you. You may not see it now, but be assured that these choices, these experiences are making up the moments of your life.
There is no blame, no mistake and no failure. There is simply the choice to stay stuck in the past or to embrace the joy of this moment.
I know which one I choose … what about you?