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Monday Musings: Learn from Your Mistakes, Forgive Your Failures

Sometimes the world kicks you.

Sometimes you stumble, slip, fall down. Best intentions are only that, intentions. Sometimes they fail.

The key isn’t to be eternally successful. The key is to be kind to yourself when you fail. Learning to forgive yourself is a skill. Forgiving yourself is a skill, too, but you can’t start with it. You have to start by learning how to learn it.

Forgiveness is tough. We learn to forgive others. We’re taught to do it, forced to do it, but rarely does anyone take us aside and tell us to be kind to ourselves.

Instead, we internalize the critical voices, the ones that tell us what we should do, absolutely must do, least we end up outcasts, alone, hated, bereft.

It’s biology. We’re created that way. Bending to the will of our family, our group, our society is locked into our DNA.

It makes us do strange things, push ourselves down until we break.

That’s fine. We can work around that.

Usually, for me, it starts with anger. Rage. Hate. I suppress myself for so long, that all those feelings come boiling out all at once. It’s not pretty. It’s dirty, ugly, uncomfortable.


Destruction often is. You feel like you’re sweeping the world clean, removing all those things that have stopped you from becoming the best person you can, from fulfilling your dreams. It feels good.

Destruction is addictive. It’s easy. It’s giving in to the dark side. Big feelings, low threshold.

High cost.

Destruction won’t make you free. It won’t take you out of the pit you’re in. But it can be the trigger that gets you going.

You have to get going. Make your way past the anger, past the rage, dig down to the core, the pit, the seed of your pain.

Sometimes, that’s someone else. Often, its ourselves. We’re the ones that allowed it to go on way too long. We’re the ones responsible for making it end, for building something new, something better.

We can’t, as long as we’re stuck in fight or flight mode. Fight or flight is great for destruction.

It’s horrible for creation.

That’s where forgiveness comes in. We have to forgive ourselves. We have to admit that we made mistakes. It’s rare for the fault to lie entirely with the outside world, with somebody else. Even if it does, the responsibility to do something about it always rests upon our own shoulders. Rely on somebody else to solve your problems, and you are at the beginning of a circle that will take you back to the very same spot you’re in right now. We have to forgive ourselves, allow ourselves to build something new, something better.

Before we can do that, we have to learn to forgive.

It’s hard. It means disregarding that internal voice, the one that whispers all those mean things, points out all the ways we can fail.

Accept it. It’s there. We’ve learned it.

It’s not the truth.

That internal voice, it’s just our DNA, our family, society, caring, suffocating friends who try to do the best for us by forcing us into their own molds. Breaking us into their own molds.

Forgive them. Forgive yourself for listening, for making the hurt part of yourself.

So you failed. So what? Everybody fails.

The key isn’t to never fail, the key is to accept failure and move on from it.

Failure is mandatory. The choice lies in whether to get up again.

Forgive yourself your failure. Ask forgiveness from those you’ve wronged if you need to. Leave those who have wrong you, if you can’t forgive them.

Find your own way.

Accept that the world may kick you again. Accept that you might stumble, slip, fall.

It will hurt. It might be your fault. It will be your responsibility to get up again.

Find the kindness to forgive your mistakes, the ones most important to you. Learn how to forgive yourself. Learn from your mistakes.

Learn to move on.

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