We learn from mistakes so we do um on purpose? Is this true for you? How do you view mistakes?
Logically I know that without mistakes, new ideas and innovations aren't possible. Mistakes invite us to move outside our comfort zone and enable us to grow personally and professionally. We get to try something new. If we didn't meet our objective, we can try again. Being philosophical about mistake making is one thing. Experiencing them is quite another.
My morning coffee ritual reminds me of my Italian vacation taken five years ago. Making Italian coffee is easy. I put water in the lower chamber of the pot. As it heats up, water magically pushes through the coffee grounds. Presto coffee!
On one particular morning, I told my husband I couldn't chat, I needed to get to the stove because the coffee makes a gurgling sound when it's ready and I was too far away to hear it. As I approached the stove, instead of the normal aroma of fresh brewed coffee, there was a pungent burnt odor.
How could this be? The answer was simple. I made a mistake. I forgot to add the water.
I felt embarrassed even though I was alone. What course of action did I take? Automatically, I grabbed the pot and burned my fingers. After retrieving a hot pad, I quickly emptied the grounds into the trash. This compounded my problem because the plastic garbage bag melted onto the pot's hot side.
My own "heated" frustration rose. Then I moved to fear. I became aware of my thoughts and heard my own self talk recriminations. "How could I be so stupid? As a mindfulness teacher, I obviously wasn't practicing what I preach. I'll never be able to make coffee again." I felt my confidence shatter.
My husband arrived in the kitchen. He commented on the foul smell. As I proceeded to tell him what thoughts and emotions I experienced, he gave me THAT quizzical look. He said he found it hard to believe that my emotions and thoughts were so strong. "It's a simple error in judgment, not that big of a deal," he said.
Together we cleaned up the external debacle. The internal mess created by my thoughts and emotions is an inside job meant only for me.
For many of us, we did not learn how to honor and express our thoughts and emotions in healthy ways. Our coping skills consist of repression, denial, and avoidance. In an effort to be happy, we may choose unhealthy habits as a way to alleviate the uncomfortable feelings. Yet I have learned that self-delusion and avoidance are easy in the moment yet have painful consequences.
Michael Singer, author of The Untethered Soul, states that when there's a buildup of nervous, fearful or desire-based energies inside, the voice (our self-talk) becomes extremely active. This buildup of energy needs to be released. While it's not comfortable in the moment, I know that this mistake gave me the opportunity to hear my own damaging self-talk so I could let it go.
Here are three steps you can follow when you become aware of thoughts and emotions that need attention.
Set aside time to explore your inner thoughts. You are powerful and yet without getting to know who you really are, you give away your joy and happiness needlessly. This is your life and taking the time to be with yourself is the first step.
Meditative Movements™ is great for anyone with a busy schedule because you receive physical, mental, and spiritual benefits at the same time. As you release the negative and affirm the positive, you will find your energy flows naturally and life becomes more enjoyable.
Start by focusing your attention on your breathe. Continue until you feel calm and focused. If the mistake you made is not fresh in your mind, replay it. Allow yourself to experience the thoughts and the feelings fully. Tune into your self-talk in particular.
Now make a mental note of the judgmental, defeating thoughts. You can focus on releasing those or decide which nurturing thoughts counter them. If you find that you get overwhelmed, seek professional help.
While multiple Meditative Movements (I Am Smart, I Am Confident, I Am Capable, and I Release Frustration) may be appropriate, I chose the "I Am Learning Meditative Movement™" to start.
While learning from mistakes is vital, you normally wouldn't make them on purpose. For your own happiness, you need to understand how you deal with mistakes. We all have patterned thinking and you will find that whether you make a work, friendship, or personal mistake, your thought process is pretty much the same. Once you become aware, you can consciously decide how you want to respond.
It is also important to recognize that others may view mistakes differently. Be sensitive in your interactions with others. It is possible for everyone involved to learn from anyone's mistake.
I encourage you to ask your family members, co-workers, and friends, how they view mistakes.