M is for Mistakes

MFear of making mistakes plagued my life. Somehow, I wanted to convince the world at large, particularly my grandma, that I was this perfect being who did not make a wrong move. I thought if I was flawless, I maybe loved more. One of my grandma’s regular complaints about my mum was that she didn’t let grandma decide for her. After all, grandma was wise and knew better. Mum, however, got it always wrong. So, in my young mind I made many unconscious conclusions:

  • Mistakes are unforgivable;
  • It’s better let someone else to make decisions, because even if they are wrong, it won’t be my fault;
  • Someone else knew better what’s good for me; etc. etc. etc.

‘You make one mistake, and your life is over. Look at your mother! Let her be a warning to you,’ my grandma preached all the time. By mistake she meant choosing the wrong man as a spouse, or worse, loosing virginity outside of marriage. Her fears were so great that eventually I manifested them. Not by choice. I got raped. It still amounted to a mistake in my grandma’s books. My mistake. So, I kept quiet. I was terrified of anyone finding out about my past. I was frightened to move forward too, because I could make similar or even worse mistakes. I was not to be trusted, I told myself. It was all my fault.

Living in a state of near paralysis has been exhausting. I wavered a lot, wasting my energy on weighting the pros and cons of various decisions. They were not life-changing decisions to spend ages mulling over. To buy this outfit or not. To eat this or that. To catch this movie or a different one. The fear of making mistakes saturated my very existence. I was relieved when others made decisions for me. If it was a wrong move, there was someone else to blame, not me! This philosophy led me to remain in abusive relationships where, needless to say, my partners were entirely in charge. Most of the time it worked for me. But not always, because occasionally, I was clear I wanted to do something. Running into a wall of their restrictions was painful to say the least.

Luckily, it is a matter of time before such existence becomes unbearable. To remedy such ‘mistakes’ in the past, I changed partners. I saw the problem outside of myself. It was their fault, not mine that they were such jerks. Except men changed, but the problem remained.

What I didn’t realise that by letting other people decide for me, I gave my power away.

So, when I became willing to reclaim my power, I had to embrace two significant shifts in perspective.

  1. There are no mistakes. Only experiences. We may not like certain decisions we’ve made in the past, but we can certainly learn from them. The challenge is to stay open, recognise the gifts of those experiences, and then… let them go.
  2. We are here in this world to shine our light. Hiding out behind others damages our soul and the world at large. It takes courage to own our power and take responsibility for our lives. Marianne Williamson captured this beautifully:

“it is our light not our darkness that most frightens us

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. …”

I’m just starting to glimpse the depth of this truth.

2 thoughts on “M is for Mistakes

    • Thank you for your comment, Virginia. It’s true, it can be hard to find our own truth. But if it’s important, life has its own ways of getting our attention, usually through great discomfort. If it becomes unbearable, we are more likely to pay closer attention and potentially wake up. It’s also important to recognise that people who bring up children do their best. They pass on values they treasure. Each of us is unique though. Some of those values serve us; others don’t. Recognizing that is half of the journey towards letting go.


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