I probably grown up with some mixed messages about making mistakes. Sometime I was encouraged to admit the mistake and apologise. Other times, I was told not to make mistakes or I make mistake because I’m faulty. So, for many years, I tried to be right. To do things based on what I call now ‘my narrow-minded justice’.
My mother regarded highly about education. She thought education was the only for me to be a successful person. So, I remember when I was at primary school, students had to take test papers back home to show parents. I will get scolded and punished if I didn’t obtain a great mark, according to my mother which was 100%. That was the parenting style of my parents.
Probably this was the first trigger that I become fearful towards making mistakes. In addition, I had this misconception that “I will look bad if I make a mistake”. This concept was affecting me beyond academics to my everyday life. By the time I know, I had become a person who cannot say “I am sorry”, or saying it at wrong situation, or saying it unnecessarily.
As long as we are human, we are bound to make mistakes.
What distinguishes a forward-looking person from an intransigent one, a virtuous person from a dishonest one, however, is whether one can candidly admit to one’s mistakes and take bold steps to redress them.Daisaku Ikeda
From not able to use ‘I am sorry’ to now, at least I know when I am sorry and when I am not. When I tried my best but made a mistake is definitely not a situation I say sorry. Yes, I am sorry that it might have affected others but not in the fact that I have tried my best at that time in a wrong direction.
My mother was a person who was rarely admitting that she’s sorry. Not because she’s not feeling it, her pride prevented her from doing so. I always believed she will only blame on others and never sees her own fault. I was proved wrong yesterday when she was able to say ‘Sorry’ to another person.
Now, when I made a mistake, I will evaluate that mistake whether I am really sorry.
Have I done my best?
What can I learn from it?
How can I improve?
Why did I make a mistake?
Who am I affecting from this mistake?
How am I going to make it better, moving forward?
These are some questions that I use to evaluate my situation and progress.
I remember when I was younger, a senior person once said “It is rare to encounter things that you cannot do anything with it or recover from it. What’s important is that you keep going.”
What did you learn from your mistake?
Have you tried your best?
Are you facing forward?