Every month when the 17th rolls around, I am reminded of the miracle that happened in my life. It was August 17, 2008 when everything changed. Some of you know my story and others may not. This was the day that I shut the door to some of my bad habits and open the door to faith, God and a life vested in both.
For me this day every month serves as a re-centering point and a marker of remembrance. Why? Because I fall off track sometimes.
I lose sight of the way.
And I make mistakes.
I give into temptations.
I use this day of the month to reflect and to admit where I have fallen short to myself and to God. In doing so, I allow myself necessary room for improvement.
We are human. We’re going to have blunders, some worse than others. That’s OK; it’s part of life. The important thing is to realize that it’s going to happen, acknowledge when it does and forgive ourselves by doing our best to avoid them.
Often people think that because I’m a Christian, that means I should be perfect and live a life that is always cotton candy and rainbows. Well, I have news: that is not the case. While I try to hold myself to high standards because of my faith, I inevitably screw up. Just like everyone screws up. There is no such thing as perfect.
For me, the difference lies in the ability to bounce back and to use mistakes as breakthroughs for deeper messages. When we veer off course or we make a bad choice, what is most important is to be able to recognize where we could have done better and then DO better.
Once we have made a commitment to learning and becoming more self-aware, we invite the opportunity for growth as we move forward from our mistakes.
6 Steps to Move Forward From Mistakes:
1) Identify the slip up.
Be willing to see it. Instead of brushing it to the side like we are often inclined to do, put it front and center. It happened. It wasn’t cool. Swallow the pride for a minute and look the mistake in the eyes. There it is.
2) Understand what may have caused it.
Next, take the time to back into it. We should ask: How did I arrive there? What were the factors that lead to it? Is there something underlying that may have influenced me? Explore it’s backbone to make sense of it, not to be confused with making excuses! This is not to assign blame, but rather to review where improvements can be made.
3) Admit that it was not what was best.
Ok, so we know what we did and why we did it – now let’s define it a little further as to why it wasn’t in line with our best interest. Here is where we must remind ourselves that we are better than the mistake. The mistake is merely a message in disguise. What is it telling us?
4) Ask for forgiveness.
Whether we need to be forgiven from a person, ourselves or God, this must occur in order to move forward. Remember, we all have missteps and forgiveness helps turn them into lessons while also allowing for deeper human connections. We will also want to keep this step in mind for the next time someone needs forgiveness from us. We all needed it at one point and will have to return the gesture also.
5) Be mindful to not repeat it.
Here is where the rubber meets the road. It is one thing to make a mistake and we often make them more than once, but the real work is in the learning and the action thereafter. We can rest assured that the lesson will keep surfacing in various forms if we continue to repeat the same mistake over and over.
6) Move forward without dwelling.
Let’s not beat ourselves up too much. As long as we are doing the work and absorbing the experiences as building blocks for the future, then we can move forward with confidence. We cannot change the past, but by holding ourselves accountable to our mistakes and allowing them to be turned into messages we can create a better future.
What has been interesting is that the more I practice this, the better I get at it. Not just at realizing when I have gotten off track, but more importantly, identifying when I’m about to be a repeat offender so that I can have my defenses in place.
My challenge to you is to try this practice the next time you mishandle something in your life. It requires that you be brutally honest. There is extreme healing power in the desire to spend time learning from your mistakes and by bringing awareness to them, a subtle shift begins to occur as you grow and become stronger.
Being more conscious of things that are not in our best interest and not serving our spiritual path or highest good has serious transformational value. As we begin to align ourselves as we strive to do better and live better, we begin to BE better, which trickles over in to all areas of our lives and relationships.
Photo Credit: Alivio Imediato Tumblr