Who likes making mistakes?
Getting told off, and/or punished for it?
The answer is more than likely, no one.
And I’m not an exception to the rule.
Growing up, I was absolutely terrified of making mistakes. It was something you typically avoided to not to get ‘disciplined’ by your parents – my parents were more than vocal about ‘mistakes’ and ‘consequences’ and I grew up to be the considerate kid who was always the very conscious of herself, a kid who did her best to make them proud.
Yes. I was that people pleaser who avoided mistakes at all cost. And in a way, it’s only natural to strive for rewards and avoid punishment.
I was taught mistakes are ‘shameful’ and you’d do well to avoid them at all cost, ‘keep yourself out of trouble’ so to speak. So, when I made mistakes – there’s shame associated with it – everything from making too many mistakes on a test, or acting in ways my parents disapproved of (or just did not understand from their generational point of view) I always played it ‘safe’ in order to avoid the negatives associated with doing the ‘wrong’ things, ‘the undesirable’ which is also often associated with ‘failure’ and ‘shame’.
Yes. Now I look back, so much of my identity has been tied and shaped by avoidance of mistakes – living by the rules unquestioned – that when I did make mistakes, I saw it as an irreversible and that my life could not possibly go on.
It was a very straight and narrow road I used to be on, lacking of a plan B and also no roadmap to where/what I actually wanted. In fact, now thinking back I always knew what I’d wanted – ‘more’ than my present circumstances, people who were into similar things and things that fringed on unacceptable by my parents.
But then I ‘truly’ learned.
That life isn’t about avoiding mistakes – it’s about learning from your mistakes.
Owning up to them.
It isn’t about having the perfect record of the best student, best employee, best kid who did everything she is told.
Nor is it by age ‘x’ you should have your ‘stuff’ figured out.
Life is so much more than what most people think.
It’s not a destination with pitstops or milestones – but it’s a continuous road, continuous journey, until one day it ceases to be.
Once I’ve realized this, I’ve been more accepting and forgiving. I’ve also been more energized to go after what I really want in life. Even though ‘life’ itself still doesn’t make much sense, and I’m still nowhere close to where I want to be. I’m working hard on it everyday. And for that, I’m very thankful on this Tuesday.