By Wendy Rhyason
Early in the new year is often a time for reflection.
As you look back over the past year, you may feel good about accomplishments or you may feel regret or pain over mistakes made.
When reflecting on mistakes and painful experiences, some people approach it in unhealthy ways. They deny any responsibility and avoid self-examination by blaming others for the problem.
How do you react when you make a mistake? Do you put the blame on someone else? Do you deny it and say it wasn’t really a mistake, at all? Or do you own it, take responsibility, learn from it and make changes?
Each time you make a mistake, whether on purpose or accidentally, you have an opportunity to learn a valuable life lesson.
When you try to be perfect, blameless and flawless, you miss out on what mistakes can teach you and you set yourself up for failure.
Humans learn by making mistakes. As children, we learn to walk by falling down.
The most successful people made many mistakes and learned from them. Thomas Edison made 1,000 attempts to invent the light bulb before he found the design that worked.
The Wright Brothers made numerous attempts to fly their plane before they finally got it right.
Oprah Winfrey was fired from her job as a television reporter because she was “unfit for TV,” but went on to become a successful media giant.
What if those people refused to acknowledge their mistakes and learn from them?
The famous Irish novelist and poet James Joyce said, “Mistakes are the portals of discovery.”
Examining mistakes should not lead to self-recrimination. You’re human and as long as you are breathing you will make mistakes. The purpose in admitting and examining your mistakes is to learn from them and make necessary changes.
When you make a mistake ask yourself the following questions:
1. What do I need to learn from this experience?
2. What could I have done differently?
3. What do I need to change?
We may not always make the best decisions. We may not always handle situations well. We may even wish we could press the “undo” button.
It takes a lot of courage to face up to your mistakes but you will benefit greatly from it.
People that never take responsibility for their actions lack the courage and wisdom required to make changes and unfortunately are doomed to repeat their mistakes.
Our true character is revealed in how we handle mistakes.
If we learn from them, we will grow in wisdom and avoid unnecessary pain in the future.
The biggest mistake you can make in life is failing to learn from your mistakes.
When setting your priorities for 2014, commit yourself to learn from your mistakes. You’ll make them anyway. Why not turn them into opportunities for growth? If that’s an area you need help with, please contact Stettler FCSS (Family and Community Support Services) at 403-742-2337.
We have counsellors you can talk with, join one of our resiliency groups or we can provide you with a list of reading material.
Wendy Rhyason is the executive director of Stettler FCSS.