I have a wonderful, patient wife.
I can say this, because I tend to test that patience pretty regularly. Sunday was no exception. I wasn’t in the best of moods, and had to go to my office to get something. I got in my old Ford F-150 pickup and promptly backed into her brand new 2013 Subaru Forrester. It didn’t hurt the pickup, but I can’t say the same for her car. Now we have an appointment with a body shop in a couple weeks–and a $500 deductible to pay.
It was simply a matter of not looking at where I was going. Negligence. Preoccupation with other things. And that incident wasn’t the first mistake I ever made, nor will it be the last.
In fact, when I am down, I tend to dwell on the mistakes that I have made in my life. Stuff I said that I shouldn’t have said, things I did. Like shouting out something rash when someone is hurting. Or borrowing someone’s car, then leaving it out where it could conceivably get stolen (it didn’t).
Students sometimes marvel at how much I have been able to accomplish in my life. What they don’t see are all of the mistakes that I stumbled through to get there. For the secrets to dealing with mistakes are:
1. Try not to do them. Learn from other people’s mistakes if you can, and
2. If you do make them, apologize (to others, to God, or to yourself). Learn from the incident. Move on.
It’s way too easy to let a mistake take you into its clutches and convince you that not only can you not accomplish anything, but you are the ONLY person who has ever messed up.
Neither one of those statements are true. It’s not how many times you fall down that counts. It’s how many times you get back up.
So cut yourself some slack. It’s the only way you are going to be able to get through this life with any shred of dignity. Of course, what is dignity, but the assumption that you are just as good as everybody else.
And if everybody makes mistakes, then you are no better or no worse than the next guy. We’re all in need of forgiveness.
Trust me. I know.