As 2016 continues to unfold, I’m delighted to note that I’ve made several mistakes already this year – and I do hope that I’ll be fortunate enough to make many more mistakes for the rest of the year.
That threw you, didn’t it?
Aren’t we supposed to aim to be perfect and seek to hide our mistakes, if we do make them, in order to ‘save face’? Isn’t it expected, especially in Western society, that everybody wants to be part of the relentless hunt for perfectionism?
Well I, for one, think that the never-ending search to be perfect is, in fact, a total load of crap.
Now, don’t get me wrong – I still believe we should strive to be the very best we can each be. But being your best self is not about being perfect; it’s about being real and authentic. And part of being real and authentic is making mistakes so that we may learn from them.
Human beings learn through doing, and much of ‘doing’ involves trial and error. It’s certainly how our ancestors learned to navigate their way through life; without trial and error, it would be highly unlikely that humanity would have spread out across the planet. When we make mistakes, we learn. It’s as simple as that.
So if making mistakes affords us the opportunity to learn, why then are so many people petrified of making mistakes? Why have we built these artificial little worlds where making a mistake is frowned upon? Why do we accept the pressure to conform and be ‘perfect’ which is thrust upon us by society, our peers, the media?
Nobody is perfect. In fact, I believe that presenting a ‘perfect’ image to the world simply highlights the individual as being shallow, inauthentic and unwilling to grow. I have no desire to be perfect; I just want to be me. Because I’m unique. It’s by embracing my individuality, warts and all, that I can live my best life and fulfil my life’s purpose.
By accepting – and embracing – that we each make mistakes and that it’s OK, we are saying to ourselves and to others, “I am an authentic, vulnerable, and fallible human being, and I’m willing to grow.”
Because being your best you is about fully connecting with every part of you; yes, even the part that makes mistakes. Every time I put my foot in my mouth or let my emotions get the better of me, I know I’ve just been handed a learning opportunity. It’s up to me, as it is up to each of us, to be humble enough to recognise that opportunity and to rise to the challenge.
It’s not our mistakes that define us but what we do to correct them and, most importantly, how we learn from them which defines us.
My book, Depression? F*** Depression!, is on sale in eBook format on Apple iBooks and Amazon Kindle. Featuring 260 pages of practical advice about understanding and dealing with mental illnesses like depression and anxiety, it’s part memoir and part self-help guide. Grab it on Apple iBooks HERE for only $0.99 (AUD/USD/CAD)/£0.49/€0.99 or on Amazon Kindle HERE for just $0.99 USD/£0.99/€0.99. Also available to buy in print from Amazon and Book Depository.