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Making mistakes

Sparked by a comment I left for rfrancis

I grew thinking that it wasn't okay to make mistakes. I tried to make up for it by praising my daughter's artwork, and allowing her to make mistakes. But if I screwed up or made a mess, I swore and became incredibly unhappy. I easily let go of other people's mistakes, but I held onto mine for literally years. Unfortunately even at age three, I watched Special K learning this same message and starting to be afraid to try new things, because "I'm not very good." or "I'll make a mess.". I had to change. Because I can see this lesson is best learnt by example. To be honest, I'm not always so great at making mistakes, if you see what I mean. But change comes slowly and imperfectly. The fact that I'm writing this is progress. :)

Comments

( 5 notes — Leave a note )
poets_hand
Apr. 7th, 2006 06:01 pm (UTC)
Oh, how I understand what you're saying. Completely.
koshkalet
Apr. 7th, 2006 06:30 pm (UTC)
You are so brave to share this, thank you. As someone who exhibits that same behavior, I am also trying to become more patient and forgiving with myself.
jennyrob
Apr. 9th, 2006 04:00 am (UTC)
To quote Anne Lamott: "This is how how we make important changes--barely, poorly, slowly."

I once worked with a man who taught me the value of admitting mistakes. He would admit mistakes and take the "blame" for everything--even things he didn't do. The wonderful consequence was that everyone's energy was freed up to deal with whatever the problem at hand was. His acceptance of mistakes (even things that he probably didn't perceive as actual mistakes) let everyone a) concentrate on solving problems, and b) feel better about admitting mistakes, as there was positive modeling for how they would be handled. It was very eye-opening.

My favorite way of showing Sam that mistakes are OK is playing catch. If I throw him a less than perfect throw, I say (with enthusiasm) "Oh! My bad! That was not a good throw. I'll try to throw better next time." After a few rounds of that he's saying "Oh! My bad!" (That phrase used to make me cringe because it's such horrible English, but my ears have acclimated, for better or worse.)
jennyrob
Apr. 9th, 2006 04:04 am (UTC)
more on mistakes
I think that it's much easier to start by admitting to small, harmless mistakes. Once that feels really safe & natural (and even liberating), I think it's easier to own up to larger ones and be forgiving of yourself.
plantgirl
Apr. 11th, 2006 02:30 am (UTC)
I've been practicing doing things imperfectly for the last few years, allowing myself to make mistakes. It can be very hard, but when I manage it, it's very freeing.

There's a T. S. Eliot quote I love: "Success is relative. It is what we can make of the mess we have made of things."
( 5 notes — Leave a note )