What are mistakes?
One of the gifts of age is the realisation of how often you are mistaken and that we are all in the same boat. We are all wrong about everything most of the time and that is the natural state of being human. Once you accept this fact, you are able to be forgiving about what most people say most of the time, you can forgive people for being at a different stage of their life and growth as beings of consciousness, people who seem full of fear and anger, and most of all yourself. When you know that you need to be wrong or you could not growth, and if you were right about everything, you would be a complete and finished object, and no longer a human capable of change which would be so sad.
Scientists take this as an established fact, they estimate that at least five percent of all scientific facts will change each year, though often they behave as if they have a complete understanding of everything which is blatantly wrong. Take something as innocent as butter, it has changed from the most evil substance know to humankind to the elixir of life within a lifetime, sugar was saving us from fat and now it is destroying us like an drug epidemic. Facts change all the time and our reactions to the things change with time, tart apples seemed like a cruel joke when I was a child, promising sweetness but delivering sourness, now I love them. Our tastes change as do our needs.
Being kissed by a girl was a punishment that you ran away from, whilst now I do not mind being caught. Though it is still the richest source of my many mistakes, there are kisses that I should not have taken, careless ones and missed ones. There are regrets, offered unexpected kisses that confused us in the moment, that we were too immature to appreciate and lean into, that caused a painful distance which we are fearful of ever creating again, and yet when we grow past that fear, it opens a world where we wish for the chance to risk it happen again despite the pain it could cause. These are opportunities to grow, learn and become stronger, though in the moment it can be a struggle to see them as such, when something is causing you pain it is difficult to be grateful for the lesson and the teacher.
Mistakes are the most practical lessons you will ever receive, they are the hard points of contact with the world, and how we get to decide who we want to be. As how we act is who we, it is who we really are and the gift of mistakes is that we get to know how the experience felt, and when we get to have a similar opportunity we get to change our actions and who we are, we get to grow, make better choices. We can not change the past but our present is entirely in our hands and who we want to be in the future is the reward, punishment or inspiration, depending on the view we take. If we do the same thing over and over again, we only ever get the same result, we become stuck or even worse afraid of our mistakes so we avoid making them.
Which is a shame as they are what can make a person so wonderful, that ability to not just give up and instead decide to try and try until we start doing something right. That vision to be brave enough to throw away everything you have, to start over with a blank page, to ask what if we met for the first time again, to imagine a world where there is no history and look afresh at a problem or even a relationship. To say, this is good, my world is better for this thing but what if there was something better, richer, deeper, something more precious than what we have now, those are question which are really worth their weight in gold, those questions that mistakes provoke that have meaning only for you, that arise because of who you are and want to be, that come from your own unique and special life circumstances, that only apply to you, in this present moment.
And where do we consider such questions? In our daydreams, it is the default thinking mode of every human being, when we have nothing to fill our attention, our mind wanders to what has happened, how we acted, we play with what could have been and what we could have said better. It is what Kahneman calls system I thinking, the resting state of mind where we think about our interactions with others. It can be a source of over thinking, regret, sadness, joy and obsession behaviours for some or most of us, however it is there as a gift, the chance to rehearse who we want to be. It needs guidance and training, if we let it, it can undercut our confidence and make us insecure, it can confirm our worst thoughts about ourselves or show us where we need to build our confidence and learn to make better choices. That is why I look for the lessons in the past that mistakes can teach us, it guides my system I thinking, it gives it a rewarding task that makes me feel good and grateful. When it thinks about the future I use it as an opportunity to decide how I would like to grow, handle things in a kinder way and who I would like to be, and what actions would align with that person. I do not use it to think about all the things that I do not have in this moment and time, as that just causes a sense of lack and scarcity, whereas what makes me happy is the feeling of gratitude that comes from a feeling of abundance.