Learning from Mistakes

I was petrified of making a mistake when I was younger. The stakes were high. If I fell and tore my pants, I’d have to hear it from my parents, especially if they were new. If I dropped a glass of milk, I’d hear about the precious glass and be chastised for wasting milk. I remember the time I dropped my double ice cream cone! Boy was I horrified. And that look on my father’s face! It fell to the ground two seconds after he had paid for it! Mistakes are hard to recover from when you come from poverty consciousness. You get one chance and one chance only so don’t mess it up. And if you repeat the same mistake more than once– all hell breaks loose. What the hell is wrong with you? How many times have I told you…?

On the other hand, coming from abundance may translate into more freedom and flexibility. Poverty inhibits and constrains. Abundance provides you with a cushion, a sense of security. When you have the resources to fix a problem, there’s much less danger and risk involved in your energy.

That’s not to say people with money don’t consider risk because they do. It’s just the energy frequency is different. When I say energy frequency, I mean, your mindset and your emotional stance, in other words– your inner state of being. When we speak of emotions we might experience more anxiety, fear and impatience with a poverty consciousness and more curiosity, excitement and patience with a consciousness that was cultivated in freedom and flexibility. Sometimes, we get caught off guard because our frequency is working silently behind the scenes.

When you’re born into an environment where you experienced lack of love or financial security, it’s more likely that you’ll experience anxiety, fear and impatience when trying something new in spite of your current circumstances because we remember what it’s like to make mistakes when we were young and impressionable. No one wants to feel shame and so we do what we do to avoid pain. We may act compulsively, deny ourselves opportunities or remain stuck in a unexciting routine.

How can we learn from our mistakes and cultivate a life based on growth and possibility?

Clear space by acknowledging when you were burnt before and forgiving yourself for it

Think about how you felt when you made a big mistake in your life. What happened and who was involved? Who’s fault was it? Consider whether you took and continue to take full responsibility for the event… and if you judge yourself too harshly. Tell someone you trust the story and ask them to listen with compassion. Alternatively, journal out the happening. Frequently, when we take the time to relive an event with care and attention, we discover that the mistake we made was rooted in our basic human need to be seen, loved and accepted rather than a defect in our nature. Often, we bury stories in judgment statements that block us from experiencing the truth behind our pain.

Here are a list of judgement statements we often use to punish ourselves for past mistakes which keeps us in a fixed “there’s something inherently wrong with me” mindset and next to them, I offer alternative statements that respond to the fundamental goodness in ourselves.

When we speak to our goodness, we are treating ourselves with compassion and dignity. We restore our natural proclivity for curiosity, excitement and flexibility.

Punitive/ Fixed-MindsetRestorative/ Growth Mindset
I was stupidI was inexperienced and trusting
I was lazyI thought if I tried I would not be successful
I was a jerkI was protecting myself
I was angryI felt frustrated and powerless
I was greedyI worried I wouldn’t have enough to survive
I was unfaithfulI felt neglected and unloved
I was pridefulI felt insecure and lacked confidence
I was meanI didn’t express myself carefully
I was irresponsibleI felt overburdened
I sucked at itI needed more practice
I failedI still hadn’t mastered that skill yet
I was carelessI was preoccupied
I was impatientI didn’t want to be disappointed


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