How do you respond when someone says you made a mistake?
A short phrase caught my eye in President Putin’s recent letter and I thought it might make for a thought provoking type of blog article.
“Recent mistakes,” might provide a pause and let’s think about this moment – not on international politics but for our interest – on a personal level.
“You messed up!”
Before looking at our reaction to words others may express about our mistakes, we need to look at how we react to our own mistakes.
Making a mistake may be insignificant or catastrophic in our lives. Purchasing the wrong product because we did not read the label may not be a life altering experience, just down right annoying – waste of time and money.
On the other hand, buying the first used car that the sales person showed us on the car lot – trusting this person to be honest, sincerely looking out for our best interest – then two weeks later finding yourself looking for a transmission specialist reflects the kind of mistakes we dread. Life’s lessons learned the hard way.
In these types of circumstances, are you hard on yourself or do you make excuses? If there is anger, raw emotion – is it directed inwardly or is it toward that sales person or both?
To compound matters and make things “big time” worse, did someone try to give you some decent advice, before you made that whopper mistake, but you ignored it? Are they rubbing it in to your open emotional wound and now it really stings – “I told you so!” Maybe they say absolutely nothing but a shrug, a roll of the eye, or a quiet negative shake of the head stills conveys it all – you idiot!
It’s no news flash – we’ve all experienced it at least once in our lives. Nonetheless, it never gets easier. However, our reaction to our mistakes and the criticism of others is where the personal growth or downfall lies.
Having the ability to face the mistakes we have made, head on, is a must kind of thing to have within ourselves. This is the backbone to build. The structure that will keep us moving forward and learning from the mistakes we have made with conscience clear, positive strides in life.
If we maintain our stance that it was not our fault, or if we nurture self-defeating attitudes and we believe the worst about ourselves, we are not striving to reach a shared human potential.
That ability to grow is ever with us.
Mistakes – they come, they go but so long as we accept and learn, change what is necessary so we do not repeat mistakes then what is possible is always reassuringly available.
So, when advice comes, or criticism is made – don’t reject, don’t throw it back at the person(s) who is doing you a kindness. Look at and evaluate your thoughts – be sincere, face-up to your own thoughts, admit what you must, and be thankful for the words of others and then appreciate your ability to grow and move on.
- The Past – Our Reminders – some embarrassing, some we live on with – permanent because of our choices back then.
- The Present – Our Opportunities – now we do our homework, no more quick spur-of-the-moment decisions, we avoid those whoppers.
- The Future – Our Ability to Help Others – to avoid similar mistakes, at least that’s the plan!
You messed up! What you do in the follow-up says more about who you are than your actual mistake!
Mistakes – we’ve all been there.