Updated: Jan 20
By Mehr Lokhandwala
Image via The Red Bubble.
We can’t blatantly label people as good or bad, as there is more to it. While there is absolute evil in this world, and some mistakes cannot be forgiven, let’s not forget that most of us fall somewhere in between being a saint and satan. At some point in our lives we have all made mistakes; big ones, small ones, ones that we will always remember. However, it is naive to think that our mistakes will forever define us. I like to think of mistakes as learning opportunities; a chance to better ourselves.
Humans are quite complex; while oftentimes there is not black and white, there is usually a whole lot of grey.
I like to imagine life as a blank canvas and think that the choices we make will show up on this canvas. The mistakes we label as horrible will show up as black, while the good choices will show up as white. However, our canvases are not filled with these black and white marks. More often than not, our canvases have grey. Grey represents the choices we make that have pros and cons. It is a representation of the fact that we are human. It represents the in-between where most of us fall. It is a reminder that we are flawed humans and making mistakes represent how we learn.
When I was younger, my mom would tell me not to touch the stove, for obvious reasons. Now I, like most young children did not listen to her and I one day did end up with my hand on top of the hot stove. In the present circumstances, while I do not carry guilt about that day around with me, I did learn from it. This is a minor but accurate example of learning from our mistakes.
While some mistakes do have dire consequences, it is important to realize that it is our mistakes that help us grow. If we did not make the mistakes we did, we would not have turned into the people we are today. Oftentimes we reflect on ourselves when we make mistakes and we (hopefully) try and prevent them from happening again. This helps us grow as people.
Mistakes can be grave — sometimes you end up hurting people — but that does not mean that you do not deserve a second chance. Maybe ‘second chance’ is not the right way to word it, maybe, 'a chance to learn’, is better. Using ‘second chance’ implies that you are starting over, and while this may be accurate in some sense; you do not get to start over when you make a mistake. You do, however, get to learn, reflect, and become a better version of yourself.
Oftentimes, when someone wrongs us, we have the option to not have them in our lives. When your friend starts spreading rumors about you, you do not have to remain friends with them. However, when we ourselves make a mistake, it is harder than not being friends with ourselves. The truth is that we spend our whole lives with ourselves, we do not get to not talk to ourselves or never see ourselves again. It is hard to forgive ourselves for our mistakes and shortcomings, I get that, but do not let your mistakes hold you captive; you deserve to be free. Give yourself grace for not knowing better, for doing what you had to do to survive.
In an article written by Mehr Lokhandwala, Becoming The Best Version of Yourself, she touches on forgiveness and writes:
“Forgiveness is hard, you can’t completely forgive overnight, it takes time; whether it is accepting what happened or revisiting what happened, there will be challenges and this is definitely one of the areas that requires you to give yourself grace. Some of the hardest challenges will be when we need to forgive ourselves for our mistakes and shortcomings, the realization that we deserve forgiveness is a tough one to come to, but so very important in order to move on” (Mehr Lokhandwala).
It may be hard to wrap your head around it, but you are not your mistakes. You are here now, and I hope that you have become a better version of yourself. You have the means and power to do better now, to learn from your mistakes, and to use them as a stepping stone in your journey of life.
Underneath our skin and bones, we are all the same. We are human, here on this planet, in this universe. And while it may be frightening to think about, it is also quite comforting to ponder that we are ever so small in this universe; dust if you will. So while your mistake may seem grave, I hope you find the confidence to give yourself compassion.
Written by writer Mehr Lokhandwala