Note: From a Prompt on the writing website TheCreative.Cafe: “I never made a mistake in my life; at least, never one that I couldn’t explain away afterwards.”
― Rudyard Kipling
Mistakes are nothing if not subjective. My mistake is someone else’s good fortune. I may consider that someone I care about is making a mistake but who among us has the right to judge someone else’s choices? There is a great deal of arrogance in telling someone that they are making a bad decision, or have mistakenly observed something that isn’t exactly how they perceive. We as individuals absolutely must own 100% our personal choices, decisions, perceptions. Furthermore, no one is allowed to take anything away from us.
If I have caused something to happen that I then perceive to have been a mistake, my first job is to own it. I personally don’t have the lack of conscious to deny it or try to hide it. So I own it and I try to fix it. Sometimes I can, and other times, I cannot. If I am accused of having made a mistake, and I disagree with the perception that I have done something wrong, I will defend myself. I don’t believe that I am aggressively defensive, and I do try to hear the opposing opinion. But the flattest pancake has two sides, does it not? If we cannot resolve the conflict, if acceptance of misconception is not available, if we cannot agree to disagree, if apologies and forgiveness are not on the table, then who wins? Obviously no one. And sometimes permanent damage is done.
I live by my own personal motto which is that I only regret the things I don’t do. So since that is my true and authentic self, it goes without saying that I will make mistakes. I make choices based on that motto, based on the fact that if I don’t do something that I want to do, then I will never know what the outcome would have been and I find that regrettable. I am not an impulsive person, I do not feel “the need for speed”, I am not a danger to myself or to society. I’m just a regular person who tries to be true to myself while also being conscious of those around me and I do my best to make good choices, consider in advance any possible repercussions, and act accordingly. And as I said, if I end up producing an epic fail, then I do my best to rectify it.
I am human; I am fallible. I’m am absolutely imperfect. I do not know all the right things to say and do all the time. I try not to hold grudges but I do expect decency and I reserve the right to walk away from people who I believe do not have their own or my best interests at heart. I do believe that there are people who make mistakes knowingly to the detriment of others. It’s an attention-getting mechanism and it works quite a bit of the time. I’m sure I’ve been accused of such acts myself.
I simply choose to believe the following:
Everyone makes mistakes.
Not everyone knows or intends to makes mistakes that hurt other people.
The definition of what is a mistake will vary.
Sometimes it’s never really clear whether a mistake was really made.
If one knows he is mistaken, I hope he will own it and do his best to rectify it.
Those who think they’ve never make a mistake are quite mistaken.
We are mostly likely offered an opportunity to learn from our own or others’ mistakes.
Mistakes are not automatically bad.
Having the ability to sincerely admit your mistake and forgive others’ mistakes is healthy and even comforting.
For the unknown number of mistakes I’ve made in my lifetime, I can only hope that the goodness in me outweighs the ignorance in my choices that turn out to be mistakes that hurt others. As far as my mistakes that only affect me, I long ago offered myself a blanket forgiveness. I’m flawed, I err, I offend, I neglect, I forget, I’m human, and I forgive.