Are You Defined By Your Mistakes?

January 17, 2013
We are more than our mistakes.

LakeIf you read my article on Experiencing Erikson’s Eighth Stage of Development, you know that lately I’ve been looking at my life with a little introspection of what has gone well, and what hasn’t.

What has resulted from my ruminations is the clear observation that I can’t, and shouldn’t, spend much time going over and over and over my mistakes, of which there are plenty.

After all, a lot of water has passed under the bridge, as it has for all of us.

Some of that water has been clear and clean and some has been a bit murky. But these days I don’t spend much time thinking about my mistakes, as I indicated in my article about the final stage of growth — where I find myself smack dab in the middle.

The main reason I don’t spend much time reviewing my mistakes is that I have learned to forgive myself, which I  encourage everyone to do. Also, when I look at my life objectively, I hope that the contributions I have made to life balance out my many mistakes. If they don’t, I just need to forgive myself a little more.

All of this is by way of sharing with you a piece called “I Am Not a Mistake.” It was on my old website and perhaps you’ve read it before. But I include it here because it expresses my belief that we should not let our mistakes define who we are — in case that’s what you’ve been doing lately.

I shall accept both my strengths and my weaknesses for they are me.
I shall never again believe the “lie” that if I make a mistake, I am a mistake.
My mistakes are the learning tools that I shall encounter on my life journey.
When I learn from my mistakes, I give them meaning. When I give my mistakes meaning, I can begin to forgive myself, I can begin to heal. I shall not use my mistakes as excuses to give up on me…
My mistakes are not me.
I take responsibility for creating my own life story through the choices I have made.
I shall make a small difference on this planet through the work I do.
When I leave I will have done my share.
I shall live, love, laugh, and learn on my journey.
— Author Unknown
 Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons


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