To err, to make mistakes, is to be human. So where did we ever get the idea that we should reject ourselves if we make mistakes?
It probably goes all the way back to our childhood. Somewhere we were sold a bill of goods and were led to believe that human beings are supposed to be without flaws.
In a sense, this is true. But our perfection is something that is innate, something that we are born with, something that flows from the fact that we are children of “God.” But this perfection is not earned. It is discovered, gradually. When it has been discovered, our behavior gradually becomes more loving, more peaceful, more joyful. Our mistakes are then seen as steppingstones in aligning our behavior with our essence. They are opportunities to learn what does not work. But our errors are never an excuse to reject our beautiful, essential selves.
If we base our self image on perfectionistic standards of behavior, we are doomed to a life of self rejection. We are always more than our unskilled behavior.
In his book, Healing the Shame that Binds You , psychologist John Bradshaw mentions some of the common mistakes that we humans make all of the time. Here are a few of them. None reflect on our character or our inner beauty.
Errors of Data. We write the wrong year on our checkbook or the wrong telephone number that someone gave us.
Errors of Judgment. We invest in the stock market and the next day the market plunges 400 points.
Overindulgence. We know that we should not eat a second dessert, but we do, and we feel bloated all evening long.
Forgetfulness. We go to the supermarket and there discover that we left the shopping list at home.
Missed chances. We have a chance to buy a discounted airplane ticket, but we wait too long to qualify for it. In addition, the price of oil goes up and the airlines have all raised the price of their tickets. We want to kick ourselves.
All of these mistakes usually cannot be avoided by us at the time. That is because a mistake is only perceived to be one with the 20/20 vision of hindsight.
All of the steps to maturity are necessarily immature. Most of us learn our lessons the old fashioned way: by trial and error. The only way we learn our lessons is usually by making them. A good thing to keep in mind is that no one goes through life undefeated. It helps to realize that everyone around us is in the same boat.
Once we learn to accept the fact that we humans make mistakes all of the time, and that each mistake offers us an opportunity for personal growth, we can learn to forgive ourselves and others when we make them. We can laugh at ourselves, and be grateful for a “God” who loves us not because of what we do or don’t do, but because of who we are: sons and daughters of the Divine!
Next posting:”Healing the Dysfunctional Family”
To sign up to be notified each time there is a new posting, click onto the Follow icon at the bottom right of any page and enter your e-mail address.