Only bowlers will understand the negative anticipation in the above illustration. Despite the player’s best intention to hit the pins, the ball is heading towards the right gutter making no points. I often think of my life in much the same way . Despite my best intentions I often miss the mark entirely. The bowler can study her grip and her stance to improve on the next roll of the bowling ball. I need to do the same if I intend to learn from my errors. Otherwise I will keep on with the same old same old.
How I respond to mistakes depends on my surroundings. As a child, mistakes were unacceptable in my home, so shame clouded any missteps. I have had to learn how to benefit from mistakes instead of heaping more scorn on my already disappointed self. It has helped immensely to encounter new responses to errors. Most helpful lately has been my experience in the gym with my trainer. If I am doing an exercise incorrectly I am likely to injure myself. Here I get an immediate reward by adjusting my approach. My trainer and I can share a laugh about my convoluted way of trying to follow his instruction. The stakes for making a mistake are nonexistent.
In more important areas mistakes can have bigger consequences. But as I accept that I will make mistakes, some even serious ones, I can acknowledge my shortcomings without shame. As a added benefit, I find that I can accept others’ errors without condemnation or judgment. I can truly say that, despite all of our best intentions, we all do make mistakes. And sometimes we can even learn from them. But that won’t prevent future mistakes. It turns out no one really is perfect, including me.