The Mistakes You’ve Made Do Not Define You

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Photo by Santiago Franco Sanchez - Unsplash

There are often so many things that we would love to change about ourselves. And if you were to ask anybody, apart from their body, the most popular answer is usually their past.

Everyone has regrets, a moment, a word, a person and maybe even some part of themselves. Shame is a painful and powerful feeling that convinces us that we are flawed, incomplete and damaged. Shame tells us that we will never be able to repair that brokenness.

We allow the deeds of our past to shape who we are as a person. To define us. We often live out our lives in servitude to those we try to measure up to, and we continue in our pursuit of perfection. We look for something that will help us forget our mistakes. And we have been pressured to be a certain away, to be perfect in everything we do. Someone without marks and blemishes.

We feel the pressure; the pressure to measure up to what others expect us to be. And so we make the decision to not pursue who we are. To hide away. Because if we don’t try then nobody would expect anything good from us, and we won’t have to live up to people’s expectations. We limit ourselves and paint over the things that make us imperfect. But it is never enough.

Guilt resides in us, often leaving us feeling unworthy as we look to others who we deem perfect, and we realise that we will never be anything like them. But most of the time that perfection is a facade. Because until we accept who we truly are, scars and all, we will never be happy.

No matter how much you try and erase them, every mistake remains. There is nothing wrong with feeling shame and guilt, because that is how we know we have done wrong. But it is when we allow that shame to become a part of us, destroying our true selves, that is when it becomes a problem. When we don’t allow people to grow from their mistakes and immediately beat them down, we become the problem. We take away their chance to be better, and we dampen the potential in them to do better.

It is human to make mistakes. There is no human who walks the earth today that has not made a mistake. This is how we learn. It is how we teach ourselves and others to be different.

For once in your life, I invite you not look at the supposed perfection of others, but to look at yourself. We are all running our own race, and in a race, you have to focus on your own lane. We have to be able to look at ourselves, and not be distracted by anyone else. This is your story, and no one else is at the centre of it. It is an incredible feeling of wholeness, that you as you are, scarred and marked, even with all your mistakes; you are and always will be enough. And that realisation is bigger than any expectation.

You are deserving of a love that is not about your past, not about performance and not about perspective.

You are deserving of a love that doesn’t require you to be perfect and doesn’t require perfection. But simply requests that you just be you.

Because it doesn’t matter how much you paint over the mistakes that you have made, they will always be there. What matters now is whether you decide to see only your mistakes, or you allow yourself to see your capacity and potential to be more than what you were.

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