Mistakes Are Our Gateway to Self-Discovery

By Marquita Herald, Emotionally Resilient Living

There are two undeniable truths about mistakes …

  1. We all make them.
  2. We do our best to distance ourselves from them as quickly as possible.

By their very nature mistakes are a mixed bag. For example, there are the mistakes we make in our drive to achieve goals and dreams, those that come about as a result of lack of knowledge or experience, and then there are those that are destined to be repeated again and again because we keep ignoring the lesson.

So who can blame us for wanting to quickly put our missteps behind us?! After all, it’s hard enough not to fall into the trap of beating ourselves up over our stumbles, but there is also the need to avoid the discomfort of being embarrassed or judged by others.

While it makes sense not to dwell unnecessarily on mistakes, if we’re able to muster the courage to take our discomfort and the opinions of others out of the equation, it’s much easier to see that mistakes help us to become more aware of ourselves and areas that need our attention.

In the end, the point is not that you made a mistake, but rather what you chose to make of it. Mistakes have the potential to provide invaluable opportunities for self-discovery and growth, especially if you are able to take what you’ve learned and then share it with others.

Reflections on the Lessons of Mistakes

  • The worst mistakes I make in my life by far are when I say YES when I really want to say NO. ~Author Unknown
  • No matter how many mistakes you make, or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying. ~Tony Robbins
  • You can’t make the same mistake twice. The second time you make it, it’s no longer a mistake. It’s a choice. ~Author Unknown
  • I admit I’ve made a lot of mistakes, but those who can only see me for what I was, for the mistakes I’ve made in the past, don’t belong in my future. ~Author Unknown
  • I sometimes react to making a mistake as if I have betrayed myself. My fear of making a mistake seems to be based on the hidden assumption that I am potentially perfect and that if I can just be very careful I will not fall from heaven. But a ‘mistake’ is a declaration of the way I am, a jolt to the way I intend, a reminder I am not dealing with the facts. When I have listened to my mistakes I have grown. ~Hugh Prather
  • Admitting your mistakes does not diminish your strength: it shows your courage. ~Erin Andrews
  • Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t possibly live long enough to make them all yourself. ~Eleanor Roosevelt
  • There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting. ~Buddha
  • Don’t carry your mistakes around with you. Instead, place them under your feet and use them as stepping stones to rise above them. ~Author Unknown
  • In life we do things, some we wish we had never done. Some we wish we could replay a million times in our heads, but they all make us who we are and in the end those experiences every detail about us. If we were to reverse any of them, we wouldn’t be at the exact place we are today. So just live. Make mistakes and have wonderful times but never second guess who you are, where you have been and most importantly where it is that you are going. ~Author Unknown
  • More people would learn from their mistakes if they weren’t so busy denying them. ~Harold Smith
  • Once we realize that imperfect understanding is the human condition, there is no shame in being wrong, only in failing to correct our mistakes. ~Author Unknown
  • Everyone makes mistakes. If you can’t forgive others, don’t expect others to forgive you. ~Author Unknown

Permission to Make Mistakes


What’s your story? Do you have an example of an important lesson you’ve learned from a mistake you’d be willing to share with us? Love to hear from you, so please consider contributing to the conversation by leaving a comment below.

Related reading:
Let today be the day you give up who you’ve been for who you can become.
About Marquita Herald

Marquita Herald

Marquita is an author, resilience coach and the chief evangelist at Emotionally Resilient Living.

She’s also an unapologetic workaholic who loves red wine, rock n’ roll, road trips (and car dancing!), peanut butter cookies and (especially) a dog named Lucy.

She’s saddened and frustrated by excuses and cruelty and believes authentic compassion is the most powerful force in the world.

To learn more about Marquita and the mission of Emotionally Resilient Living  click here.

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