Today’s affirmation is:
“I make mistakes in my life. It is part of being a human being. I forgive myself for them and I move on to bigger and better things.”
For Today’s thought, I take from a scene from Star Trek: The Next Generation (yes wisdom and insight can come from anywhere). I’ll provide minimal background for those not familiar with the show. The scene is between Data (an android officer always trying to understand and grow closer to his “humanity”) and Picard (Captain of the Enterprise).
Data has removed himself from duty after losing at a game of strategema to a “biological” life-form visting the Enterprise. Convinced that he must have a system malfunction for such a thing to have happened he removes himself to his quarters where he sits in “self-doubt” analyzing himself for system malfunctions. Finally, after two other shipmates attempt, Picard comes to Data and orders him back to duty.
Data says, “Captain, I do not think that would be wise. Clearly the fact that I could lose a game to a biological life-form indicates that I am imperfect. You cannot count on my assessments as they may be flawed. I must find the malfunction. Otherwise I might make a mistake.”
Then Picard says something rather profound. “Yes, you might make a mistake. That’s called being human, Data. You know, it is possible to make no mistakes and still lose.”
Mistakes are those things none of us like to make. They cause us embarrassment and sometimes real pain. Many spend their entire lives trying to avoid them at all cost and missing out on much life in the process.Having made a mistake we often act as Data did.
We put our lives on hold, afraid to take the next step for fear we are flawed and incapable. That disempowering message is, afterall, something many of us had drilled into us from an early age. And yet, in one of the great conundrums of our society, we feel we must be perfect and never make mistakes.
We conceive that our lives would be far less stressful, if only we could avoid them all together. Picard’s statement equates making mistakes with being human, in other words, as long as we ARE human we WILL make mistakes. An acceptance factor is in play here.Secondly, he says it is possible to make no mistakes and still not achieve all we desire.
We spend much time playing if only…If only this my career would be better, if only that my relationships would be better. We often are left wondering what we could have done differently to change something.
The answer, sometimes, is NOTHING. We may have done ALL we could to help someone, or get a good education, or raise our children, or advance in our careers. It IS possible to make no mistakes and still not achieve our intention. Yet, we may look back and feel inclined to judge ourselves for what we did or didn’t do in a given situation.
We need not riddle ourselves with guilt, self-doubt, and regret regarding such things. If we can accept that we will make mistakes, but also that they are not the end of the world; and accept that even if we don’t make them things will not always turn out our way we can achieve some measure of peace.
This is not intended as some relativistic “let’s all live in mediocrity” or “not strive for excellence” message, but rather as a reminder go a little easier on yourself when you slip along the way. Once we can do that we can expand that understanding to others. Another example of how creating a happier more sane world starts within and spreads to without.
In his book Happiness Is a Choice, Bernie Neal Kaufmann relates a Native American Medicine Wheel regarding mistakes. Kaufmann describes the wheel in this way.
- The top of the wheel reads: ”I accept my mistakes.”
- The left side of the wheel reads: “I learn from my mistakes.”
- The bottom of the wheel reads: ”I learn from the mistakes of others.”
- The right side of the wheel reads: “I learn from the mistakes of my teachers.”
- Finally, the center of the wheel reads: “I understand there is no such thing as
When we choose to live by this very astute advice we understand that everything that happens…including our mistakes…are a blessing and a teacher.
The Affirmation Spot.com
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