There’s a weird discrepancy that exists between how you see yourself, and how others see you. We seem to always give ourselves the benefit of the doubt. We decide that although we may act out of character, that ‘this isn’t the real me’. We persuade ourselves that our negative actions aren’t part of what makes up who we are, but in reality they’re probably more defining than anything else we do.
Everyone does things sometimes that they regret. Sometimes in reflection I imagine situations, and how I would have acted differently if I were able to catch myself at that moment. It’s nothing unhealthy, it’s more of a way to gauge whether I’ve grown or matured since that point in time. However, the tendency to believe that I am consistently the ‘good’ guy in the story is strong, as it is for everyone, and so a lot of the time we may find ourselves convinced that what we did was right, and that everyone else misunderstood or misinterpreted what actually happened.
The argument can be made here that we all make mistakes. We mess up, no matter how hard we try not to. These mistakes are important though, they’re so important. They teach us that none of us are infallible, and act to highlight our flaws in contrast to our more admirable characteristics. In a way, we’re made unique by the fact that we are able to make mistakes and so owning these mistakes is as important as refining our talents and positive characteristics.
I wrote this because a lot of us (myself included, if not leading the group) can be unrealistically hard on ourselves for making a mistake, for making a poor decision. I almost feel guilty sometimes if I make a bad call, if I get irrationally angry, or if I react poorly to something. I feel guilty because I expect myself to do better, and to never make mistakes. The issue here is that this is an impossible expectation, and that accepting these mistakes is the only sure-fire way to get past them and move on.
Don’t give yourself a hard time for getting it wrong sometimes. I suppose that’s the take-home here. Make mistakes, own them, and learn from them. Life is essentially just a series of decisions anyway, and so we’re bound to get a couple wrong here and there. 8 out of 10 isn’t bad in the end.