Understanding our mistakes

By Rebecca Kimbel, DTM

Very few people deliberately choose to make mistakes, unless they are a comedian. Most mistakes stem from our desire to be accepted, our ignorance or our pride.

Needing acceptance starts at birth as a basic human need. Acceptance is the foundation of love, protection and quality of life. Without it, we may not survive. Our need for acceptance causes most of us to follow in our family traditions and habit patterns. We usually follow our family's dysfunctional behavior as well, if we believe they will disapprove of us if we don't act the way they do.

Wanting acceptance and belonging may cause us to join a church or group whose ideas we don't agree with, especially if it is the largest and most prestigious group. It feels "hassle free" and safer. Teenagers often drink, take drugs or drive crazy to "fit in" with their peers. According to them," all the kids do it." At the time, acceptance seems more important than logic. Ignorance is the next step on the slippery slope of making mistakes. When we lack knowledge, education or experience, mistakes are inevitable.

Mistakes based on faulty information can be devastating, especially when you become a victim of deception, manipulation, or theft, such as a con game, a sweetheart swindle or a bad investment. These mistakes have a lingering sting. The price of false information is high, but it doesn't stop there. We usually continue to beat ourselves up, for not being aware of what we did not know. Someone once said, "The person who never made a mistake was either a liar or too much of a coward to try anything." Through our mistakes we learn what not to do.

Pride is a huge cause of mistakes. In an attempt to avoid condemnation we often think we can hide our mistakes in denial. We fear the consequences of public ridicule, punishment or not being forgiven. Pride keeps us chained to our errors.

There's a big difference between making a bad judgment and being a bad person, but pride won't let us risk the illusion of perfection we believe others have of us. The illusion of human perfection becomes the crutch sustaining our crippling pride. We can't advance. We can't admit we were wrong.

We can't change what we won't recognize. If we don't recognize mistakes as mistakes, we will keep our mistakes. Our best teachers have used mistakes to help others recognize and avoid the same pitfalls. Mistakes provided them with wisdom and compassion. Recognizing mistakes is knowledge. Recognizing the mind set of people making mistakes is wisdom. Understanding diminishes errors and negativity when we realize very few people deliberately choose to make a mistake.