Monday, June 27, 2011

Unpacking: Missteps

To 18yo Me

5. Missteps are just that. One does not equal your failure.

Oh, I like this one.

I've often been an "all or nothing" kind of girl.  When I decide to do something, I typically throw myself into it full-force.  And oh boy, I better do it right. I've had the tendency to feel that if I mess up some part of it, then the whole thing is ruined and I may as well just throw in the towel, admit total defeat, and try my hand at something completely different.

What a silly way to see things, really.

It's taken me a long time to understand that a misstep, a mistake... they don't equal the end.  They don't mean I've ruined the whole thing.  They really do just mean a mistake.  You can fix mistakes.  You can learn from missteps.  And you can keep going.

In fact, I think I might argue sometimes that mistakes are crucial.  Sometimes the mistakes slow the end product's arrival a bit... but in the long-run, when we learn from our missteps and apply what we've learned to that end product, it makes the end result so much better than it ever could have been if we'd gone along perfectly on an unbumpy road.

I recently said to someone, "Falling off the wagon doesn't mean you have to set it on fire and go home.  You can jump back on it!"  I think it took me a long time to learn this... but I'm glad that I finally have (in general).  It's still hard for me to accept my own failures sometimes, but I'm getting better at seeing those failures as bumps in the road, as opportunities to learn from my mistakes, as a bridge to a second chance.

Failure comes when you give up.  Not when you mess up.

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