Three Ways to Embrace Mistakes as Life's Lessons

By Julie Fuimano, Personal & Career Coach

There are no mistakes in life; only lessons. What this means is that whenever something happens, there is a gem for you to learn from. If you can learn to accept mistakes, shortcomings, and unwanted events as opportunities for learning and personal growth, then you'll feel less stressed and fearful, you'll be more confident and self-assured, and your life experience will be more rewarding and fun.

If you do something incorrectly or wrong, or you do something that makes you feel bad, you may get angry with yourself. Most of us have a habit of beating ourselves up mentally over and over again.

The fact is that when you make a mistake, there is a lesson for you to learn. Mistakes are gifts. They offer you the opportunity to explore an area where perhaps you are deficient, need additional knowledge or training, or need to reevaluate your approach. Perhaps you were rushing. Whatever the reason, if you take the time to explore what happened, you can learn what you need to know to correct the situation and to put systems in place so that this same mistake does not recur.

Some people refuse to accept that they did anything wrong. It was someone else or it was the system. This is known as a victim mentality. They rationalize, deny, make excuses, justify, and blame. These people have not yet learned to accept responsibility for themselves and for their actions.

When you do something wrong or something doesn't quite work out the way you want, there are ways of managing it so that you learn the lesson, move on from it, and grow stronger in the process. By adopting these three approaches to life, you can learn to handle yourself gracefully and deepen your relationships with yourself and with others.

1) Be open to making mistakes

Accept that you're human and that each of us will do things we regret. Each of us will take a wrong turn, hurt someone's feelings, or make bad choices. Be open to making mistakes and embrace them as an opportunity to learn valuable life lessons. They hurt sometimes - a lot of the time. But if you open to learning from your mistakes, you will be able to move on rather than wallowing in regret or disappointment. If you don't learn the lesson, it will repeat itself again and again in different situations until you get it. Experience is a hard teacher.

2) Be aware

In other words, look for areas of improvement. Be on the lookout for "mistakes" or ways to strengthen your character. Be aware of what you are doing, why you are doing it, how you feel, and how you make others feel. This way of thinking is about being proactive and seeking betterment to avoid unnecessary blunders. If you are aware of how your behaviors impact others, then you can determine whether that is enhancing or hurting your relationships.

You are responsible for how you are received by others. This is a matter of emotional intelligence. You must be aware of the impact your words and actions have on others. Sometimes, your words just don't land right or you say something but it is not what you meant to say. People have difficulty expressing what they really mean. By being fully aware of how you impact others, you maintain an open state of learning which allows you to constantly practice being a better person - a better you.

3) Accept full responsibility for yourself and your life

Whatever happens, whenever you make a mistake or you are involved in a misunderstanding, take responsibility. There is always something to be learned or improved even if the other person was wrong too.

Accepting responsibility is liberating. Yes, it's hard to admit you were wrong. But it demonstrates strength, courage, and a commitment to personal excellence. It's respectful. By doing so, you demonstrate that you care about yourself and the other person.

When you accept full responsibility for yourself, you also accept responsibility for making things right. If something was done poorly, then you can fix it. If something was misunderstood, then focus on building greater understanding in your relationships. When you accept responsibility, you demonstrate the highest level of respect for yourself and others. And you learn to make better choices to avoid problems, mistakes, and misunderstandings in the future.

By being open to learning life's lessons from every event, situation, and encounter; by maintaining an awareness of how you are received in relationships with others; and by accepting complete responsibility for yourself; you empower yourself to create richer, more meaningful relationships with others. You also will also develop more self-respect and learn to stop beating yourself up over your mistakes; instead taking responsibility, making things right where necessary, and committing yourself to developing greater integrity and a more mature character.

Julie Fuimano, MBA, BSN, RN is a Success Coach working with executives, leaders and professionals who want more happiness, more time and less stress. She is the author of "The Journey Called YOU: A Roadmap to Self-Discovery and Acceptance," the manual for effective living. Learn how to unleash the greatness within you and create a life and a career that works for you! To explore how coaching would work for you or your organization, call (610) 277-2726. Sign up for our e-newsletter or purchase your copy of the book at www.nurturingyoursuccess.com or write to Julie@nurturingyoursuccess.com.


 
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