I have a side job as a freelance writer for a site. I got the assignment to write “15 Biggest Mistakes of Someone´s Life”. Of course, the job required to do research. Needless to say, I was shocked at the mistakes of people. Not only because some of them were truly catastrophic, but because many of them had carried the guilt, regret, and consequences for years. The agonizing regret of making that one decision that turned out to become the biggest mistake of their lives. For many, a lifetime of regret and guilt. What I did notice though, was that neither one of them realized they were making the biggest mistake of their lives when they did it. Some had red flags, others didn’t.
We´ve all made mistakes. I think we make mistakes pretty ordinarily, it’s just part of being human. Most mistakes that we make are harmless, like forgetting to turn off the bathroom light or missing your exit on the highway. However, many of us have that ONE mistake that haunts us for the rest of our lives. Some us have several dreadful mistakes that we carry on an ordinary basis. It doesn´t matter how many years have gone by; we still pay the price. Because some mistakes can’t be undone, they can’t be fixed and they can have horrible consequences in our lives. I know I have a few, and I can tell you this, I still find it hard to forgive myself, because I pay the consequences every single day.
We live and we learn says The Cardigans’ song. When I first heard that song I must have been around 19 years old. Living and learning seemed so easy. I hadn’t yet made any catastrophic mistakes. I had gone to the wrong high school, I had wasted a little bit of time before going to university and I had probably said a few things I didn’t mean but that didn’t affect other people’s lives or mine to a meaningful level. However, as time went by, the older that I got the worst my mistakes became, longer-lasting consequences. Some, permanent. And I have to live with that.
I’m only 31 years old and I already carry the burden of several dreadful mistakes, and I still have (what it seems like) a long life to make plenty of more mistakes. I know I’ll make them; I know I will. Because I’m human and because most of our choices are half chance.
It is said that we are the result of our decisions. Yes! The decisions that we make shape a great deal of our lives, but there’s another factor included in the formula. Call it what you want: luck, karma or destiny.
Our mistakes are many times inevitable, it is only after we’ve done it that we’ve learned the lesson. A guy wrote that his biggest mistake was having children with his ex-wife, that he should have found someone more maternal. How could he know? Sometimes there’s no way of knowing until you’ve done it.
We live and we learn. But we can´t deny that many times even if we’ve learned the lesson it doesn’t fix our lives, it doesn´t fix the problem. Some mistakes have long-lasting or even permanent consequences.
Which takes me to the next point. We live, we learn but we also need to accept and forgive ourselves. If we could have known the outcomes of the decisions that drove them to be mistakes we wouldn’t have done them. But we did it. So it comes to accepting the outcome and learning to forgive ourselves, if you learn this tell me how.