Oops! Embracing our mistakes is self-care

Embracing our mistakes is self-care

Oops! Embracing our mistakes is self-care

Like death and taxes, mistakes are an inevitable part of life. No matter how much we plan and prepare there will always be times when we feel we could have done more, done less, done better or in some cases not done anything at all. Rather than walking away berating ourselves with ‘should’ve, could’ve or would haves’, could learning how to embrace our mistakes as a necessary part of our growth and development be a key to self-care?

As a society we raise our children under the constructs of good and bad, right and wrong, naughty and nice, clapping when they behave or perform well and scolding when they don’t. When a child has a tantrum or gets into a fight in the playground, how many parents sit down and ask their children what’s really going on? What may look like random bad behaviour on the surface is often far from the reality of what’s going on underneath. Children, and the adults they become, are highly sensitive beings that get hurt very easily when they don’t feel loved, seen, heard, respected and accepted for who they truly are, which can play out in a myriad of behaviours.

Rather than judge these behaviours – like anger, frustration or rage – as being bad, negative or wrong, could we apply a deeper understanding to ourselves and others that will help us to grow, evolve and not be condemned to our unloving choices and patterns of behaviour?

The purpose of mistakes isn’t a gruelling exercise in self-criticism and regret, but an opportunity to see a deeper truth of the patterns and behaviours we choose so that we can become more self-aware, giving us the opportunity to choose a different, more loving way forward. Take for example a situation where you lose your cool at work and get angry with a colleague. You could just write it off as being in a bad mood that day or – if you were willing to go there – ask the deeper question of; “What way have I been living in for me to behave in a way that is so out of character?”

Just one simple question can open up a dialogue of self-enquiry that has the potential to be life changing. Could it be that we get angry because there is a hurt of not feeling respected or supported at work and this makes us sad? Or could it be that it actually has nothing to do with work at all but rather a level of abuse we’ve been allowing in other relationships – including how we treat ourselves, our own lack of self-love and self-care – that has brought us to boiling point?

These types of questions are just the beginning of a greater understanding and acceptance we can hold for ourselves and others as to why we do what we do. That isn’t to say that it’s ever ok to get angry with someone else, but understanding why it happens is very necessary for us not taking things so personally, or giving ourselves a hard time for our reactions, behaviours and seemingly wrong choices we call mistakes.

If we each acknowledged just how sensitive we all equally are, understanding would become our natural way of relating to ourselves and each other. So rather than berate ourselves with ‘should’ve, could’ve or would haves’ for our mistakes – from the small ones likes locking ourselves out of the house to the bigger life blunders where we’ve seriously hurt ourselves and others we care about – could the starting point be to actually ask ourselves, “Are you ok?”.

Seeing mistakes for what they truly are is crucial because they are learnings. Responding with love is a moment of true self-care and one that has the potential to unfold into a deepening awareness, understanding and acceptance of ourselves and others. So rather than indulging in regrets, perhaps it’s time we wholeheartedly embraced our mistakes for the evolution they offer.

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  • By Alison Coleman, Bachelor of Business (BBus)

    Alison is a practitioner of Universal Medicine Therapies in Sydney who brings a depth of warmth and wisdom to her work in supporting people to develop a strong sense of their value, worth and unique expression in the world.

  • Photography: Rebecca W., UK, Photographer

    I am a tender and sensitive woman who is inspired by the playfulness of children and the beauty of nature. I love photographing people and capturing magical and joyful moments on my camera.