Posted by Jill Whalen | Posted in Psychology, Relationships, Spirituality, Thought | Posted on 07-12-2016
Tags: 3 Principles, Love, Transformation
[Jill’s Note: If you prefer to listen rather than read, please scroll to the bottom of this post for the audio version.]
Everyone makes mistakes. Some are big and some are small. But one way or another, we f*ck up. A lot. And we do it in a variety of ways.
Every. Single. One. Of. Us.
That means you. That means me. That means your spouse. That means your friends. That means the police. That means politicians. That means doctors, lawyers, butchers, bakers and candlestick makers. (Hate when my candlesticks get messed up! 🙂 ).
If mistakes are so prevalent (and they are) why do we give them so much credence? Why do we feel the need to make others (and ourselves) feel so bad when they’re made?
Not only do we beat up our friends and family over theirs, we beat ourselves up over our own. In fact, it seems like we spend a good portion of our day damning someone or something that went wrong. (Can you say “making mountains out of molehills”?)
Yet are mistakes really so awful?
To me, they’re a normal part of life. Here’s why…
We’re all on this amazing, beautiful planet to play and learn. We don’t come into the world with the rules of the game, but have to figure them out through trial and error. Which means that mistakes are a built-in part of the learning process. A big part!
I don’t know about you, but throughout my 55 years of life, I’ve learned the most not from those times when everything goes according to plan, but from the times when things don’t work out quite as I’d hoped. Even more so when I make an out and out mistake.
Messing up is a part of the game and let’s us know what works and doesn’t.
If we continue to try new things, it’s inevitable that sometimes they’ll work and sometime they won’t. When they don’t, our best bet is to make a mental note of it, adjust our strategy and try something different next time.
The key, it seems, is not to blame ourselves (or others). Messing up or not getting something right doesn’t mean we’re bad. Or dumb. Or evil. Everything doesn’t work out the way we think it will–and that’s okay. As long as we learn from it.
It’s the same when others mess up.
Most people are very, very rarely trying to be bad or purposely doing dumb things. And yet it happens. Sometimes a lot. Often even despite their best efforts to not mess up (yet again). The thing is–they know they’ve messed up. While they may not always admit it, and may even try to blame others, deep down, they likely do know the error of their ways.
Here’s the thing…
They don’t need you or me or anyone else to remind them of how stupid/jerky/insane/mean they were.
Even when they’re acting like they didn’t do anything wrong, you can bet that the voices in their head are beating them up much more than we could do to them. Our adding to their thoughts about how bad they are, will never help and is almost certain to make things worse. In fact, the more we treat someone as if they are a jerk, the more jerky they will become.
However, the opposite is also true.
The more compassion we have for others–especially when they mess up–the more chance there will be of them being “good” in future.
I know this sounds paradoxical, and you’re likely thinking, “But I can’t (shouldn’t) let them get away with that.” However, having compassion for someone who’s made a mistake, does not mean that we’re allowing poor treatment. We can and obviously should make sure we’re in a safe environment, and also be clear on what’s acceptable behavior and what’s not. But also remember that regardless of what we believe is acceptable or not, whatever was said or done was still simply a mistake.
Who among us hasn’t done or said something out of line while in a low state of mind?
Who among us hasn’t acted like a maniac in a fit of rage?
Who among us hasn’t blamed others for making us feel a certain way? (Even though that’s an impossibility.)
The more we remember that our partner, friend, child, coworker, etc. is simply being human, just as we have been so many times before, the easier it is to let it go.
So what would happen if we gave them break? Or perhaps a “get out of jail free card” when they mess up?
Would it wreak havoc on our relationships? Or would sending them love instead of anger, resentment or sadness potentially strengthen our relationships?
If this sounds crazy to you, then I implore you to give it a try–even just once. I have personally seen the power of simply giving others a break and knowing that their mess-up is not them. It transforms both the situation and the relationship (in a good way). In fact, it seems to create fewer mess-ups down the line–not more like we might think.
Do you have an “I can’t let them get away with that” mentality? If so, how’s it working out for you? If your answer is not so great, then what have you got to lose by seeing things from this new perspective?
Let me know how it goes and leave your thoughts below!
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