Life lessons come in many packages. We learn so much from our mistakes. But first, we must accept that we have made one. This involves owning our mistakes by first acknowledging the action or behavior.
This takes courage and acceptance. Acceptance is part of being a human being. We are all fallible—it’s human nature. As such, acceptance follows fallibility to proceed forward. When we make a mistake and take ownership of it, we are ultimately admitting to ourselves that we are human. No one is perfect.
Mistakes help us to grow. They allow us to learn and to move forward with experience and knowledge. We don’t always have to fix things or try to make them perfect.
How have you been conditioned to perceive mistakes? Do you view them as bad, negative, or catastrophic in nature? What if we look at mistakes through a different lens, one that does not have a negative connotation? Mistakes provide vital opportunities for growth and learning. This is true for both adults and children. Obviously, we don’t want to be making the same mistakes repeatedly. However, the more we look at our mistakes and try to discern why they happen, we can then identify how we can avoid them in the future. This critical thinking and evaluation of our own choices and actions is a great learning opportunity for a child’s development.
The next time you or your child makes a mistake, try to facilitate the following thought process:
- When you think about a mistake you have made, what feelings come up?
- Was it clear why the mistake occurred?
- What could you have done differently?
- How will you do things differently in the future?
Each time we make a mistake, it offers us a bit more opportunity to grow, so long as we are gentle and compassionate with ourselves and our children. Life lessons come in many packages. Allow yourself to make them and grow from them. Life offers us opportunities to learn from “failures” and “mistakes.” It is important to welcome them, as this is oftentimes when the greatest growth occurs. Further, we learn more from our mistakes than we might learn from success if we allow ourselves to be open and thoughtful about evaluating the mistake.
As parents, when we make mistakes, we show our children that it is okay. Benefits of showing our children that we are fallible include:
- Modeling the process of making a mistake, evaluating it, and moving forward with this knowledge.
- Helping your children and family see teachable moments, whether it is internal or in dialogue with a child.
- Reducing the pressure of doing everything “right” and “perfect.”
- Depicting that we are ultimately all students of life. Living and being is a lifelong learning process that is equally subject to mistakes and failures as it is to success and accomplishment.