7 Things My Biggest Mistake Taught Me

January 21, 2016

I once read that going through an emotionally turbulent time or difficulty in one’s life has the same meaning as the idea itself: storms, difficult times, a mistake made, happen in people’s lives for a reason. They happen so the person can change, evolve, and grow.

When a person goes through unpleasant and difficult times, they long for the feeling of emotional stability they had before. They suffer greatly because they say “why me?” and they believe that because of this change they have lost part of themselves, the essence of who they are, and their innocence in the world. They feel strange, confused, and unable to understand the therapeutic value that pain can have.

With the hard hits that life brings, two things can happen: you sink, or you are reborn and become a better person than you were before. Spiritual beliefs, or whether or not you believe in karma, do not matter. The main point here is much more pragmatic and indisputable: our experiences change who we are.

abstract women naked mistake

Only the events that we intensely experience, both physically and emotionally, will make us question ourselves and things in our lives that we never would have before. These events can happen all the time, anytime. When they happen to someone else, like a friend or a neighbor, we, looking from the outside in, can see it very clearly. But when these things happen to us, we can be greatly affected, and they can cause us pain. 

We always hear phrases such as “the important thing is not that you fall, but rather that you get back up” or “always learn from your mistakes.” These concepts are the basis of many evolutions and changes that we and those around us experience.

If only we could realize everything without having to go through the difficult times, but unfortunately there is no handbook, no manual, that explains how to live life. Although we create our own reality, we live in a world in which things are constantly changing. 

The wisest people are those who embrace that change. It has been said that “he who is strongest doesn’t survive, but rather he who can adapt the best to change.” Change is always preceded by trial and error, confusion, and learning. 

I have learned more from wrong answers than “right” ones 

Think of some mistake that you have made in life. Choose the one you consider to be the “worst.” Have you ever thought about the value of the lesson this mistake could teach you? Have you ever thought about what it may have freed you from? Or have you ever thought that, although it may have been a mistake, having committed it has confirmed your system of values and beliefs?

“The mistakes of the greatest minds are more informative than the successes of mediocrity.” 

-Arturo Graf- 

Don’t worry; we are now going to take a more optimistic turn. Some lessons learned from the mistakes humans make are more universal than they may seem. Below is a run down of a few of them.

woman blowing bubbles mistake

My greatest mistake taught me that:

  1. Life can surprise you in both good and bad ways: You have to be prepared for the tough times that may come. There is nothing better than being able to get through them on your own.
  2. Not all the emotional support you receive is appreciated. Quality, not quantity, matters: To believe that you are entrenched in a difficult situation or stuck in an emotional rut is just that, a belief. It is important to be prudent and not seek out help from anyone who comes along, but rather from the type of person who will offer a beneficial perspective, someone you know will be helpful.
  3. Bad moments are those in which you truly know yourself and others, too: They say that you can’t really know someone until you live with them, but going through economic, social, or emotional problems can also be very telling. Not even the person you considered to be prince charming, nor your friend that offers you a comforting hug, may be what they seem. This doesn’t mean you should end these relationships, but just that you should maybe not keep them as close as before.
  4. Seeing how some people live with indifference helps you feel more excited about the loyalty, sensitivity, and passion of others: It is terrible how it is so easy to underestimate the people around you. Only when the difficult moments come can you appreciate their greatness. Honest and genuine people are not valued by how much time you have known them, but rather by the times when their honesty and goodness has shone.
  5. Everything passes, everything changes, nothing is permanent: A pain or disappointment, as heartbreaking as it may seem, levels out, becomes more manageable, and dissipates with time. When you act with principles, these principles will become stronger in the future. The pain becomes just a part of life that can be contemplated and processed with greater and greater clarity.
  6. Mistakes can be overcome, but disappointment is irreversible: Mistakes can be overcome and can be learned from. You will be able to forget the people who let you down, who disappointed you, but you will never be able to forget how they made you feel. Maybe this is the best way to end something that was never real.
  7. Thanks to everything I have learned, I am a better person: Thanks to everything I have learned throughout my life, I am a new and different person. Not any less sensitive, nor innocent, nor more quick-witted. I am simply a person who is able to understand things more clearly, more self-sufficiently, and with the ability to not pay attention to that which does not interest me. I am a person able to truly enjoy that which makes me happy, and that which I feel passionate about.

The bittersweet taste of my mistake has prepared me for others 

It is inevitable that just about everybody will make mistakes over and over again over the course of their life despite the fact they feel they have everything under control. Making mistakes is a fundamental part of our growth and evolution as humans.

However, if we learn from our mistakes, the next time we make them we will fall with a little bit of cushioning underneath us. We will be able to pick ourselves up a little more quickly. If we never made mistakes, or if we didn’t have to experience difficult things every now and then, we would lead a very limited life.

Image courtesy of Elena Lishanskaya, Lucy Campbell