There’s a quote that reads, “Mistakes are proof that you are trying.” I love that quote; it’s encouraging, not condemning. The more I read it though, the more I realize I don’t exactly agree with it. For me, it isn’t the mistakes that prove effort, it’s the acknowledgement, the conceptualization of whatever act as “mistake, and what’s more, it’s the conviction one feels after the f(act).
To acknowledge something as a mistake is to admit wrongdoing, to hold oneself responsible for having committed the wrong, and to make conscious efforts to act differently in the future. Whether our mistakes are intentional or unintentional, and we will all make both, reconciling takes on the same process. It wasn’t until recently that I realized the need to reconcile with myself, I always thought it had to be two or more involved for some sort of resolution. Well, I’ve found that in some ways, there are, even when I reconcile with myself… there’s the guilt-crazed one who made the mistake, the judgmental one who condemns me for having made it, and the loving one who recognizes that if I repent and talk it out, there’s a lesson learned that leads me upward.
I’ve come up with a few steps that are real to me:
1.I must acknowledge and accept that I am not perfect; I must rejoice in this!
2. When I make mistakes, I must see them as mistakes, behaviors, separate from who I am as a person.
3. I must repent unto God and also confess my mistakes for myself. I must reconcile.
4. (Optional, but extraordinary) I must seek counsel (in|formal) that I may not isolate and worsen my situation.
5. I must forgive myself for the mistakes I make and acknowledge the lesson(s).
[These steps will repeat themselves.]
I guess there are positives about perfectionism… I imagine it makes us work harder, for example… But, it also makes us feel inadequate about our authentic selves; it allows the “not good enoughs” to linger; it tells us that mistakes define us as failures in whatever our endeavors… and society does too, so long as it clings to the perfectionistic mindset. We live in a mis•taken world that is teaching us that being who we are is deficient. We constantly look to the person beside us trying to embody a characteristic they choose to show us; we are afraid to mess up because someone is always on our heels, waiting to record our fall. We’re screaming at ourselves, inside ourselves, twenty-five hours a day, trying to release the real, but too afraid no one will get it… or worse, no one will want it. i t ‘s h a r d w o r k ! I think I’ve come to realize I’d rather get back up and try again in front of the whole world than to inwardly fail at everything and have no one to share that with. Our mistakes help us to learn, to grow, to matter… If we were perfect, we wouldn’t need a savior!
While we may not be deserving of the grace of God, if HE loves us despite ourselves, we’ve got to know that we are worth more than
nothing. I’m not saying that we should be content with every bad choice we make or wrong turn we take; I am saying that we should be honest enough to recognize them as mistakes, comfortable enough to discuss them, and courageous enough to move forward, despite them.
When we think too hard about how to be ourselves, the person we show lacks authenticity and forfeits autonomy.
I love you, flaws and all.
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