I have made so many mistakes... SO MANY MISTAKES... but I've also learned that my failures can be fantastic learning opportunities. It's true! Here are a few lessons I've learned from my own failures, so now they don't seem nearly as bad.
1. Who Loves Us?
The very best thing about making mistakes is learning which of our friends and family actually do care about us, and will be there for us when we fall. Until we need them, their love and support is purely hypothetical, right? But if they're there for us when we've failed, we know it's real, and that's such a good feeling.
2. I'm Human and That's Okay!
Not that I ever thought I was an alien or anything -- though for a while in my teen years, I was sure I was adopted because I was WAY cooler than my mom and dad -- but making mistakes does make me realize that I'm human... and there's nothing wrong with that!
3. Well, That's Not the Way
Okay, so I tried doing something one way, and it was a mistake. Now I can pick myself up, dust myself off (perhaps seek medical attention) and try again another way. Look at that! I figured out a new way NOT to do something. You're welcome, world!
4. Learn to Apologize and Accept Responsibility
I've made some mistakes and hurt some people before, we all have. The thing is, if you're learning how to make it right, it's almost worthwhile. "Almost" because you can never un-hurt someone, but still. Learning to accept personal responsibility, and to apologize, are very valuable life lessons.
5. Shows Me My Strength
If you've tried and failed, and tried and failed, then tried again...that shows perseverance and strength and integrity, and those are all amazing qualities! To keep going after a setback has shown me that I'm a lot stronger than I thought I was, and that's wonderful!
You know, there are a lot worse things you could be than someone who's made a mistake and moved on. You could be cruel, vindictive, arrogant, mean... see? You aren't any of those things. You're simply human, and that's so much better than what you could be, right?
7. Believe It or Not...
It may not always seem possible, but sometimes, when we make mistakes and are dealing with recovering from them, other people might be taking courage and inspiration from us. For example, I was the very last person to cross the finish line when I ran a marathon this spring. I felt like a failure until one of my friends told me how inspired she was that I kept going, that I finished. She didn't care that I was last -- she just cared that I crossed that finish line.
What useful lessons have you learned from your (rare and not terribly embarrassing) mistakes?