I hate it when I make a mistake! The day is going along nice and calm and then the stomach churning feeling when you realize you’ve made a mistake, rolls in. The feeling reminds me of our recent fishing trip – it was beautiful when we started out, but when the dark clouds started coming they were moving faster than our boat could take us to shore.
How quickly our day can change when we start getting down on ourselves! Why do we do that? Mistakes are a part of life. Sometimes we do them accidentally, and sometimes we choose something and it turns out…maybe we should have chosen the other thing.
The most important thing is what we do after we’ve realized we made a mistake. Sulk? Cry? Yell? Say “I’m so stupid!”? We get down on ourselves and then we take it out on other people, then we feel bad, and get down on ourselves again. It can be a never ending circle unless you find a way to forgive yourself.
One of the best things someone said to me when I’ve been down about making a mistake is this: “I probably make 100 mistakes every day, and you know what, the sun still comes up in the morning”. Or as Dori from Finding Nemo would say, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…”
If it’s a big mistake, think about what you can do to make it right. Be honest, forgive others, make a plan if you need to, talk about it with someone you trust, and above all, forgive yourself. You are not stupid, or bad, or any of the other things you may be telling yourself.
Mistakes can help us make better decisions in the future, and they can help us understand and support our friends when they’re in the same situation.
“Show me a person who has never made a mistake and I’ll show you somebody who has never achieved much.” – Joan Collins
We’ve all been in situations where we don’t know what to say, and that doesn’t change as you get older! Whether it’s a friend who’s in a fight with another friend, someone at school had a death in their family, or your parent had a really bad day at work, there are times when you want to be there for someone but you just don’t know what to say.
Do you smile akwardly and walk away? Sit silently and not say anything? Say something that you later think “Ohhh, maybe I shouldn’t have said that?” No matter what you do, knowing you are there for them will make your friend or family member feel much better. But if you really want to say something to show your support, try this:
“I don’t know what it’s like to…(include what is happening), but I know what it’s like to be sad/angry/scared/worried/disappointed, and I’m sorry you’re sad/angry/scared/worried/disappointed.”
“I don’t know what it’s like to have to put your dog to sleep, but I know what it’s like to be sad, and I’m sorry you’re sad.”
“I don’t know what it’s like to have someone do that to me, but I know what it’s like to be disappointed, and I’m sorry that happened.”
One last thing to remember – some day you may be the one who needs a kind word, and your friends may not know what to say. That doesn’t mean they don’t care! If you’re going through a tough time it’s o.k. to tell your friend how your feeling, too.
Showing compassion and saying a few kind words goes a long way in building and keeping lasting friendships!