I want to share something a friend recently posted on social media the following question, with her own answer:
"Instead of using the word mistake, what else can we call it?
A funny story?
A chapter in a book?
An opportunity to practice solving skills?
The important thing is to figure out how it is a gift. Because if you view it as a gift, it will become one."
Now, I am completely on board with this. Then, I read all the responses people wrote in:
"An experience which is one of many that makes you the person that you are."
"A learning opportunity."
"Opportunity for growth."
"A small glitch."
I was reading the responses, and I was a bit troubled by this. I have no problem with trying to turn the mistake into a positive growth experience. How wonderful! Yet, I was troubled by the feeling that when we focus so much on the positive, and forget the negative, it starts to feel like we lose the opportunity for growth for ourselves with the mistakes that we make. It has both a dismissive and numbing feel to it. "We all make mistakes. Forget about it and move on. Don't dwell on your mistakes." Of course, we move on. By then, there is no growth.
We cannot allow ourselves to move quickly to the positive growth piece of a mistake. We actually have to sit with the mistake. We have to examine the mistake.
I have tried many times over to think of the positive growth I have achieved with every mistake. Unfortunately, I have also been guilty of glossing over and softening the mistake with that comforting thought of "we all make mistakes” and “don’t get so angry with yourself." Guess what happens. I end up making the same mistake many times over again. I tell myself, "I just cannot believe it. How did I make that mistake again?" I passed on the chance for some positive growth.
Some of these mistakes are huge. We all know someone, or we have been that someone, who was in a bad relationship. You hear the story ad nauseam, about how the relationship was this huge mistake, and how this person could not believe he or she was so blind not to see it. A month later, that person ends up in another bad relationship. The new relationship is identical to the bad relationship that this person was amazed how blind he or she was not able to see the first time around.
Once again, we had tried to be kind and comfort the person by saying that we all have made mistakes. We tell the person that it was a learning opportunity, and this should be a chance for positive growth.
Apparently, all that sweet talk sunk in. We made the mistake so okay that it became okay to repeat the mistake. There was no learning from the mistake. There was no growth. There was just continued blindness.
In my reply to this social media question, I wrote that instead of using the word "mistake," I suggested "screw-up." "You really screwed up big time, Steve!"
The screw-up has to feel so big that it becomes a huge CrankaTsuris. This is a CrankaTsuris that, at the top of your lungs, you want to scream about. You sit with the negative part of the screw-up, and it almost feels like it has you in shackles. For a moment, you are imprisoned by it. You feel enslaved by it. This experience is one that you really need to have.
This does not mean that you have to become obsessed with the mistake. You are not. However, with the CrankaTsuris, use it as the flashlight and the hi-lighter of the mistake. With your CrankaTsuris, you hold it in your hands for examination, but you do not linger. You start the work to have the CrankaTsuris Screw Up released.
Begin this release. How would liberation feel? What would freedom from the mistake be like? Can you imagine what liberation from this mistake or "screw-up" would look like? Turn your imagination into your new reality.
Only then, can you change the word "screw-up" or "mistake" to real growth and true liberation.
You are now free!