“Having harvested all the knowledge and wisdom we can from our mistakes and failures, we should put them behind us and go ahead, for vain regretting interferes with the flow of power into our own personalities.” ~ Edith Johnson
I have made a lot of mistakes in my life… enough that I can surely continue to harvest the knowledge and wisdom from them for the remainder of my life. And although it is wonderful that I am able to gain valuable and positive wisdom from my mistakes or failures, I must labor to reach a point in which I can leave those mistakes or failures behind me and move on, as Edith points out here. For just as a farmer stops harvesting once the crops are depleted, I, too, must move on to another field or season once I have harvested all the knowledge and wisdom that I can.
When moving on from the mistakes and failures of the past, it is helpful to keep in mind that putting them in the past does not diminish the significance of them, and neither does it lessen the importance of making amends if anyone else was involved or hurt. It simply allows us to continue on with our lives and to place our focus where it is most necessary and effective–in the present moment and all its possibilities. Maybe I said something hurtful yesterday. I have the option to learn from that mistake and not repeat it, or to allow it to affect me still today. But if I do the latter, I may be afraid to say anything at all, or too preoccupied with regret, and in effect lose many of the opportunities available to me today.
If we are aware of our mistakes and failures and recognize them for what they are and what they have to offer, we can certainly learn a lot from them. But we should also remember that what is done is done, and we still have plenty to do in our lives and plenty of moments to live through today.
Learn from a recent mistake or failure, and then put it behind you.
Questions to consider:
What have been some of your worst mistakes? What have you learned from them?
Why do we sometimes hold on to mistakes and allow them to affect us for long periods of time?
How can we be sure that we’re putting mistakes behind us?
For further thought:
“Like most people, Aunt Hattie Mae explained, I saw my mistakes as failures–setbacks and defeats to disappoint, depress, or demoralize me. What they really are, however, are opportunities. Because it is from our mistakes that we learn the lessons we need to develop and grow. . . . Mistakes aren’t just our teachers; they’re also our motivators. They cause us to reexamine our choices, revise our plans, and, in some cases, reconsider the way we live our lives. And change them for the better. . . . The person who makes no mistakes doesn’t usually make anything. And when you learn to see your mistakes for what they are–compulsory education–the harder you fall, the higher you’ll bounce.” ~ Patti LaBelle