I’ve made plenty of mistakes in my life. I’ve messed up hundreds, if not thousands of time. Most of these mistakes have been small, trivial things. Like forgetting to put the toilet seat down (or up), spilling food and kicking it under the stove or leaving the front door unlocked before going to school. Mistakes are plenty and abundant in everyone’s life.

Yet there are some mistakes that go deeper, with greater impact on our day to day lives. Some mistakes stick with us for time. Even though we do our best to avoid some of these mistakes, other times there’s nothing we can do. A lot of these mistakes happen to everyone in some way shape or form and they end up holding us back from achieving what we are truly capable of.

My first real, big mistake…trying to please others.

This one has stuck with me and I think it’s a mistake that A LOT of people make in their lives. In high school, that’s all I wanted to do. I wanted to be liked by everyone, have everyone’s support. So to do this, I actively went out of my way to please others around me. I spent time around people who posed no real value, trying to make them happy. It killed me, slowly and quietly, but later on I could feel it.

My second mistake? Caring to much.

Boy this one got me in a lot of trouble. Giving to much of a shit, caring about someone to much, wishing I could solve everyone else’s problems…this mistake caused months of suffering in silence, painful conversations and sleepless nights. I spent my own precious time caring for other people while neglecting myself.

Number three? Playing it safe.

I wouldn’t talk to people because I was scared they wouldn’t talk to me back. I wouldn’t talk to them because I thought I’d embarrass myself. By not saying anything and skirting around the conversation, I can play it safe and not worry about anything. No embarrassment and no rejection. I wouldn’t take an opportunity out of fear of failure. But how could I know that I was going to fail, if I never took that chance? I couldn’t. I didn’t. I missed many opportunities…just by playing it safe.

So what could number four possibly be? Keeping people around.

Yet another monstrous mistake that prolonged pain, suffering and overall discontent. I kept people in my life that had no business being there. Sometimes these arrangements lasted a few months, sometimes a few years. People who slowly sucked the life and motivation out of me. A relationship with others should be treasured, supportive of one another. Keeping those around who don’t treasure you…big mistake.

The last mistake? The final, grandiose mistake?

Trust. Or to be more specific, destroying trust. Destroying trust can destroy a relationship. Trust is one of those things that, once broken, will never be the same once it is rebuilt. It takes time to mend and forgiveness of broken trust is honestly the most difficult of things to fix. I have had the valuable perspective of being on both sides of the spectrum, being the one that destroys the trust of another and having my own trust destroyed. It’s not pretty. It’s brutal, living with the understanding that someone you loved actively lied to your face for months and watched on as you deteriorate. Then there’s the reversal, you know that you’re in the wrong and the person who trusts you more than anyone else maintains their sense of falsehood, up until the time when they find out its been a lie all along. The trust is broken, and it will never be the same again. Never.

We can’t live our lives without making mistakes. This much is inevitable. Mistakes are meant to happen, that’s how we learn. While the mistakes I’ve made are awful, terrible and negative experiences they have been influential and educational in the end. I’ve learned more from these than mistakes than from any happy-go-lucky experience in my life.

The mistakes we make inform who we are to become. What we choose to do after our mistakes is what makes the difference. Mistakes should make you humble, which is still better than a great achievement enforce arrogance.

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