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I love mistakes…in hindsight.
I love looking back and realizing that despite the discomfort and the pain, making mistakes gave me perspective.
They helped me grow.
Sometimes, they even gave me a swift dose of humility, if it’s needed. If my ego was being fed more than my spirit.
I’ve always believed that we learn a great deal more from our mistakes than from our successes.
There is little doubt that I am a lover of mistakes and the lessons they bring. But—there are a few mistakes, that even when looked upon fondly for the lesson, I know I will never repeat. Mistakes that felt more like a gut-punch than a blessing, and that took me years to fully understand, learn from, and then most importantly, let go of.
These are the three mistakes I will never make again:
1. I will not avoid uncomfortable truths.
When I was younger (a sentence that makes me feel old, yet wiser than I once was), I would avoid uncomfortable truths. I was in search of validation, more than truth. I was in search of someone agreeing, more than truth. I was in search of being right, more than truth.
I think it’s predominantly a condition of youth, but denial is a serious mistake. It’s serious, because of its potential for longevity, and we can carry it forward to the detriment of ourselves.
Some of us spend years in denial; I spent most of my 20s in it.
Quite simply, denial and the victim mentality may be more comfortable spaces than having to face some uncomfortable truths.
Someone once told me that I was a person of little tact. As he said it, I reeled around in horror. How dare he! I protested in my mind.
Thankfully, having spent time on a soul journey, I had promised myself to push past discomfort and listen. I took a moment.
I recognized that this uncomfortable truth was a realization, hence the discomfort. Yes, I rethought, I’m a mind blurter. Words come pouring out of me and I could use a little more finesse in my delivery.
Some truths are hard to hear and they require a gentler hand.
I was open to the truth because I had pushed past the discomfort, listened, and then ascertained if it resonated with who I know myself to be. I will continue to not avoid these uncomfortable truths.
2. I will not choose anything that comes at the cost of my mental health.
This mistake, for me, was the mother of all my mistakes. It was the hardest to learn from because it related directly to my family. I am often blinded when it comes to the people I love and care about.
I want the best for them and more times than I could count, I did things at the cost of my mental health, to help them.
This was a dangerous cycle because it filtered into every friendship and relationship I have ever had. I found myself bending over backward to please everyone around me to the point where I broke. I no longer recognized myself, I had no boundaries, and I had driven myself to rock bottom.
Rock bottom is a frightening place, and when you put everyone else’s needs above your own, it’s the place where you inevitably land up. For a brighter perspective, it’s also the place where you rebuild—on a solid foundation of self-love.
Nowadays, I realize and know the vital importance of self-love and self-care. That I am not of any real and valuable help to others when I am depleted. And truthfully, a person who loves and cares for you, will not expect or allow you to break yourself in the aid of them.
You can help people, but they can only save themselves. Everyone is the hero of their own story.
3. I will not self-reject.
I grew up surrounded by emotional and physical abuse. A hideous side effect of abuse is self-rejection. As a child, I came to believe that I wasn’t valued, I wasn’t safe, and I wasn’t loved.
I carried that self-rejection into adulthood.
My mistake was to then act accordingly, in self-destructive and desperate ways. The only remedy for this mistake was to learn that I was a worthy, lovable, kind person—that I was safe within myself—within my own inexhaustible light, which had come from years of darkness.
I no longer reject who I am and I love all parts of myself, particularly the unflattering aspects that may need some work.
They are also deserving of love.