Do you ever make mistakes that in the moment seem like a huge deal? Like forgetting your passport at home before an international flight, accidentally sending an email to the wrong recipient, saying something to someone important that you regret?
We’ve all made these types of mistakes.
In the big scheme of things, though, most of these mistakes really aren’t a big deal. In fact, they’re actually great learning lessons that can help us learn, grow, and evolve on many different levels.
Why It’s Okay to Make Mistakes
A lot of us are too hard on ourselves. We don’t give ourselves or those close to us much permission to make mistakes.
We actually spend and waste a lot of time worrying about making mistakes. And in turn, many of us can be unnecessarily critical of those around us when they make mistakes.
When someone is compassionate and supportive towards us when we make a mistake, it reminds us that having compassion for ourselves when we make a mistake – instead of judgment and criticism – is a much healthier and more positive way to respond. This is also true for how we engage with others when they make mistakes.
How do you relate to yourself and others when mistakes are made?
While it often depends on the nature of the mistake (some are bigger than others, of course), many of us tend to be hyper-critical of ourselves and those around us when it comes to errors. And the stress, criticism, and negativity we associate with mistakes can actually cause unnecessary harm, fear, and anguish – in essence, making a difficult situation even worse.
What if we had more freedom to make mistakes and gave the people around us permission to mess things up as well? It’s not that we’d start rooting for or expecting things to go wrong, we’d simply have more compassion and understanding when they did (which at some level is inevitable in life and business).
By granting more permission for mistakes, we actually create an environment within ourselves, as well as our key relationships and teams, that is conducive to trust, connection, risk-taking, forgiveness, creativity, and genuine success.
While it can seem a bit uncomfortable, and even counter-intuitive, allowing more freedom for mistakes to be made, ironically creates the conditions for less errors to occur, and more fun and productivity to take place.
How to Expand Your Capacity for Mistakes
Here are a few things to think about and focus on to expand your capacity for mistakes in a positive way:
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
At the end of the day, the vast majority of mistakes we make in life really aren’t all that big of a deal. The bigger issue when it comes to mistakes is either our fear of making them or our reaction to them once they have been made (by us or other people). As we lighten up and practice letting things go, we find that most things we stress or worry about are really small things. Living life with this awareness allows us to have more peace and a lot less stress.
When someone makes a mistake, especially a big one, forgiveness is an essential aspect of moving through it. Most of the time there is no malicious intent by the person who made the mistake.
Sadly, we tend to spend and waste a lot of time and energy either with blame or resentment, instead of focusing our attention in a more productive, positive, and healthy direction – forgiveness. It’s often quite difficult, but most important, for us to forgive ourselves when we make a mistake. However, if we can remember that most of the time we’re doing the best we can (as are others), we can hopefully get off our own backs and allow ourselves to be human (which means we aren’t perfect, nor is anyone else).
One of the main reasons a lot of us don’t trust ourselves as much as we could is that we haven’t forgiven ourselves for our past mistakes. When we do this, it creates so much freedom and peace – both for us and for others.
Look For the Lesson
There are often many lessons for us to learn when a mistake is made. While it’s not always the easiest or most enjoyable way to grow, it’s often quite effective as it gets our attention.
Mistakes are how we learn in life. Most of the time when we make a mistake, even a really big one, we gain a great deal of knowledge, experience, and insight that is invaluable.
Remember: it’s okay to make mistakes. By accepting this, you expand your capacity for imperfection in a positive way and gain even more self-trust.
How can you give yourself and others more permission to make mistakes? Feel free to leave a comment or question below.