The Benefits of Mistakes
Intrusive thoughts bug all of us. Why did I have to suffer? Is this even fair? Why me? I should have taken the precautions earlier! Mistakes are inevitable, but we all deny it. Mistakes are success in disguise. Of course mistakes are meant to hurt, make us doubt ourselves, and make us scared to move forward but that is proof we need to carry on. Personally I would rather die in battling something than die any other way. I am not saying that we will not think about our mistakes because mistakes usually haunt us for a long time, but what I am saying is that we need to think of our mistakes in a realistic way. As my therapist always says: our brain does not have a delete button. Realistically mistakes happen. No time machine is available to any of us. All we can do is make up for our bad decisions. When it comes to a mental health condition over time most will do something that may or does impact them in a significant way whether it be gambling, lying, or shop lifting. No one knows the feeling entirely of doing something so often and so obsessively but at the same time not wanting to do what they are doing to hurt themselves and others. Mistakes happen and sometimes people do not know how to NOT make the same mistake the one hundredth time around.
How do mistakes benefit us?
What if mistakes and other things that we beat ourselves for are actually the stepping stones to successfully entering the world again in a positve way? Everyone has heard the phrase that things being easy is not a positive aspect of a situation. Something that is hard forces you to go out into the unknown and that is what mistakes do for us. For me my mistakes happened when I was not at all myself, when my mental health condition had taken over my brain convincing my sane brain that what it was seeing me do on a daily basis was bad but it wasn't hurting anyone. That was one mistake on my part. I did not recognize that the people around me in my life mattered too not just myself and my ridiculous want to be something more than I was (caused by my mania). I am not saying we cannot be something more than we already are, but what I am saying is that often we find ourselves unknowingly self absorbed when we have a mental health condition. This is a barrier that we often have no idea we are experiencing or that it exists.
Mistakes make us sit back and watch our actions, recognize the wrong, realize what needs to be changed, and then decide to keep going in the same trajectory or to change course into the unknown and unexpected. Mental illness creates this comfort zone for us. A comfort zone that makes mistakes seem small even though we think of them in a gigantic form in our brains. We think of mistakes or feelings that we are having and comfort ourselves that in reality everything is okay.
What Is A Mistake?
Mistakes are mistakes because you do something wrong. Theoretically a mistake should only show up once and prevent you from doing it again, but mental illness allows a window of opportunity for mistakes to be like a semi automatic gun. You just shoot without having to reload your brain with what you should do. In this way, the more mistakes you make, the harder your life will get, and I hope you recognize when an intervention is in order because there is a small window once you start shooting out mistakes like an exploding firework to turn your life around.
Mistakes when we are struggling with a mental health conditions are often huge. So huge we simply give up trying to live life. We make life mistakes that often take people away from us and opportunities away from us. This is traumatic in itself. So what positive comes out of traumatic experiences? We have to recognize everyone becomes a better person when they struggle even if they don't believe they are. In one of my groups I was going on and on about my faults and two group members raised their hands and said 'I don't think you know what you have actually accomplished' when I was complaining about how much I was struggling.
Mistakes Lead to Change
Maybe the more we think about our downfalls, the more we are ignoring the things that make us a better person and the more we are hurting the self that needs to be preserved. To deal with bad bad bad mistakes we have to be able to feel the worst pang of embarrassment and exclusion one could ever feel. We have to watch ourselves get beat up a few times until we start seeing improvement in our life and with how we feel about ourselves. This is hard and it is understanding that many do not have the energy or the will to experience so much pain and embarrassment. The only thing that is holding us back from dealing with mistakes and dangerous activity is ourselves.
I made my mistake by lying and on Facebook and let me tell you, having your friends, family, and a few boy crushes realize that what you were posting and who you were was all a lie was a mistake that I know will never leave my mind. For years I was well aware of the mistakes that I was participating in. The activity I was doing online, at school, and with friends were harmful to myself but for me what I was doing was enjoyable at the time and I couldn’t see the point of stopping things I was doing, because they felt good at the time. One thing I knew but did not recognize was that once you know what you are doing wrong, most likely something will go wrong.
- Susan Page
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