What I learned from screwing up

Sometimes, life gets you down.

If you’re a 20-something like me, who thinks it’s the end of the world when I screw up or things don’t go according to plan, it happens more often than we’d like to admit.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 25 years on this planet (which yes, I realize is not that much time), it’s that the only guarantee is that you’re going to screw up.

Probably a lot. Royally.

I screw up daily. (F perfection ya know). I’m sure you screw up daily, too. I’m sure, if you’re like me, there have been times you questioned your sanity, judgement and intelligence level.

You’ll ask yourself “what was I thinking?” knowing that you weren’t.

It doesn’t have to be mistakes fueled by alcohol and lost inhibitions (though we’ve all been there). It could be something as life altering as saying yes to the wrong job opportunity, turning down the wrong guy or girl, and so on. Obviously, there’s no shortage of ways we could screw up. It gives me a pit in my stomach just thinking about it.

One of the most important things to do as you’re growing up and screwing up is look at the patterns of those mistakes.

Sure, you’re not a total screw up. But do you ever find yourself making the same mistakes repeatedly? If you are, chances are you’re not learning from them.

One of my best friends* imparted some wisdom on me during one of my quarter-life crisis panic attacks (not to be dramatic).

She said, “You’ll make the same mistakes over & over again until you learn the lessons you’re supposed to.” This, to me, was groundbreaking information.

You mean to tell me that these things don’t just keep happening to me because I have horrible luck? You mean I’m supposed to think about the consequences of my actions, think about what led me to those mistakes and change for next time?

Shocking.

For me, one of the biggest lessons I was refusing to learn was how I deserve to be treated. Time and time again I kept finding myself disappointed, let down and discarded by people in my life, romantic or otherwise. I kept blaming external factors and simply believed that there were no good matches for me out there, that no one would reciprocate my kindness and caring; that I was probably just unlucky or worse unlovable. I was discouraged. It wasn’t until I started thinking about the lessons I must’ve not been absorbing.

It was time to shake things up.

We all know about the definition of insanity. If I kept ALLOWING myself to be treated a certain way, I’m going to attract a certain kind of situation and person. Mistakes would repeat. Cycle would continue. You get it.

In terms of this particular ignored lesson, I started thinking about all the lies I told myself, about what I deserved and about what was “never going to happen for me.” Lies like: I would never find someone who values the same things I do. Finding someone is too hard. I probably don’t deserve it. Love is fake. Etc.

Now, learning what I’ve learned (after clearly far too long), I call BS on past Sam.

I’ve made some mistakes. I was refusing to look at some of these mistakes and see the lessons that came from them. And the greatest lesson to come from them was that I deserve to be treated exactly the way I want to be. And I will be.

Instead of blaming the world (which is easy to do) sometimes you should turn mirror towards yourself. When you start realizing the patterns that stick out amongst the mistakes your making, you’ll start to see quick fixes you can make. That’s when we start learning. That’s when things start happening. When we learn the things we’re supposed to learn.

The thing is, mistakes are all part of it. You’re going to continue to screw up. I know I am. I know I have. I probably haven’t even learned all I’ve needed to yet when it comes to this specific mistake. Hopefully I will.

If there’s something in your life that continues to frustrate you, maybe it’s time to turn the problem on its head. Take a look at yourself and your mistakes. Have you learned anything?

*Follow my girl’s blog for more wisdom and brunch recommendations. 😉

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