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Mistakes. Like …

  1. I’m experiencing a typical day in my life – rushing around, trying to get the most done in the least time. A friend calls and wants 5 minutes, but I’m panicking about getting everything done, and I put her off, telling her I’ll get back to her later. Then I don’t.
  2. One day, after a long period of research and analysis, weighing the pros and cons, I decide to buy a car. That car turns out to be a lemon.

These are examples of the 2 kinds of mistakes we tend to make. The first happens when we don’t think, or pause, or consider the consequences. It happens because we’re afraid of something – not meeting a deadline, someone’s opinion of us, for instance. The second happens in spite of our best efforts, and is probably unavoidable.

The fallout from the first one is remorse, guilt, shame – generally feeling bad about ourselves. The second one has fallout too – but it’s more about feeling a loss, and then looking at what we could do better next time.

That first kind of mistake always hurts others, including ourselves, even if we don’t know it. Mostly, it hurts those closest to us.  The second hurts too, but it doesn’t hurt others.  It’s like getting a cut or even breaking a leg.  It does damage, but it’s damage that will mend.

We can learn to avoid the first kind of mistake by first, becoming aware of how we end up making it, then making the changes that will prevent it. It takes courage to face our dark side, and self-forgiveness.

And … it’s so worth it!



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Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .

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