a handy maturity vector

Naturally we all make mistakes, in all shapes & sizes, for a huge variety of reasons. To err is human indeed.

But so too is the unfortunate inclination to ignore our mistakes, particularly when they feel rather severe or were made in our distant past.

The fact is, we are naturally reluctant to “admit” having made certain mistakes. The consequence, however, is that they can often plague our lives, frequently in the form of one or more bad emotional habits.

So why do we work so hard to avoid facing certain mistakes? Simply because we are afraid of looking (or feeling) foolish, especially in the eyes of others. Honestly, what a monumentally stupid reason to repeat or fail to correct a mistake.

Consider this: Contrary to popular belief, I don’t believe that your personal growth & improvement is contingent upon “admitting your mistake” to someone else! Rather, it is about you accepting that you made it yourself; whoever hears you do so is not important.

My reasoning is thus: You privately and genuinely accepting your own mistake gives you two very valuable things: (1) freedom FROM the guilt or shame or embarrassment of the mistake, and (2) freedom TO either rectify the mistake, ameliorate its continuing effects, or at the very least not repeat it again. And perhaps you even walk away with a little bit of wisdom and a renewed pride of personal responsibility.

So you can see how being able to accept a mistake to yourself – without necessarily having to “admit it” to someone else – is a very powerful Big Win.

PS. If it helps, think on this: “Maturity is to not hide one’s strength out of fear, and consequently live below one’s best.” Dag Hammarskjold