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Reframing Mistakes

May 7, 2011

I've made a lot of mistakes in my life, many small, but some huge. I've spent a lot of time replaying those mistakes over and over, beating myself up and asking all sorts of questions for which there aren't any answers.

I'm beginning to realize that all the condemnation and recrimination in the world won't make those "mistakes" go away. I'm also beginning to realize that I may be doing myself and my spirit a serious disservice by attaching value judgments to past decisions. The intrepretations I attached to them were much worse than the decisions themselves were. They were not "good" or "bad", they just were.

Would I have made different choices and done a lot of things differently if I knew then what I know now?  Of course I would. But therein lies the point... IF I'd known then what I know now... the simple truth is that I didn't.

I have to accept, and live with, the consequences of my choices, all of them. But I don't have to continue to beat myself up because of them. Through God's grace, and the process of healing, I'm learning to realize that I did the best I could at the time. I didn't knowingly make decisions that would cause pain for me or others. If I'd had the wisdom, patience, strength, or courage to make healthier choices I would have. God knows that and He has forgiven me. Now it's time for me to forgive myself.

Photo by eggman at


Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen said...

I TOTALLY understand, Syd...I'm still beating myself up for things I did when I was 12, for crying out loud. And I believe in God, love, forgiveness, and grace! But even though I know He has forgiven me, I can't quite forgive myself.

And that's a sin.

My counselor told me that we do the best we can do at any given point in our lives. We make mistakes - we're weak, frail, and human. But, we're doing the best we can. Even people who are cruel and abusive are doing their "best" -- it's what they know and who they are. Obviously they should and could be treating people better, but they're operating from a sick, damaged, ugly, dark place.

And so was I, when I did the things I regret. That doesn't make it all right, and it doesn't mean I've forgiven myself like I should! But it helps me understand that we're just muddling through, doing the best we can.

Thank you for your blog - I really appreciate it! And I'm glad to get to know you better :-)


May 16, 2011 at 2:56 PM
Syd said...

Hi Laurie,

Thanks so much for your comments. You are always so thoughtful. I really do appreciate you!


May 16, 2011 at 5:37 PM

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