…continued lessons from unexpected challenges…
Sometimes, life knocks us down.
Sometimes, we fail or don’t measure up to life’s challenges.
In my recent post on how the journey holds surprises and life offers lessons I touched on an instance of how I came up short.
As a result of failing to be consistent in my mindful practices and to remain centered in the now, I ran into multiple problems.
My lack of mindfulness in key moments lead to physical harm. Plus, due to my lack of consistent practice, I suffered more deeply, was more negative, and reacted more poorly to my circumstances.
This resulted in greater suffering for myself and those around me.
Tripping over ourselves while walking life’s journey
The difficult truth is that we humans often act mindlessly, we make mistakes, and we frequently don’t live up to our potential.
This leads to numerous consequences, and is often very hard for us to accept.
The thing is though, it’s not about being perfect, it’s not about never messing up.
It’s about the way we respond and recover when we mess up, it’s about progress instead of perfection, and it’s about making the most of the journey we are on.
A defeat in a battle doesn’t mean we’ve lost the proverbial war.
Failures aren't really failures when we learn, grow, and pick ourselves back up – even if it takes us a while to do that.
That means, when we fail in some way, when circumstances aren’t going well, and when life’s challenges knock us down, we’re best off taking action to recover, forgive, and to learn and grow from this point on.
We begin to recover by accepting that what’s happened is now in the past, that our present circumstances are simply where we are at his point, and that we can dust ourselves off to move forward.
For sure, the mistakes we make and the challenges we face can hit us pretty hard, knock us to the ground, and even kick us when we’re down.
Plus, when we’ve taken a particularly nasty stumble on life’s path, the recovery process is likely to be slow, difficult, and filled with its own ups and downs.
Still, recovery can happen if we let it, improvements can be made, and the recovery journey can offer us a lot in its own way.
To get up, move forward, and to ensure we don’t compound our mistakes, it’s necessary to forgive.
We need to forgive ourselves, and if we’ve injured others in the process, we need to forgive them if they can’t forgive us.
Forgiveness means we accept and understand the current situation. It means we let go of the guilt that weighs us down preventing us from making present circumstances better.
While we often convince ourselves otherwise, forgiving doesn’t mean we don’t care, it doesn’t mean that we think a mistake isn’t a problem, and it doesn’t mean we don’t want to take responsibility.
Quite the opposite, forgiving recognizes that “what is, is”, that we bear responsibility for our actions, and that carrying negativity and expending energy needlessly laying blame hampers the efforts to make things better.
We can’t rebuild a city after a flood if we use up all our energy, time, and resources cursing the waters that washed through it.
Learn and grow
When we’ve made a mistake, messed up, or get knocked down by a challenge in life, we’re also given incredible gifts.
Each mistake and challenge is also an opportunity.
We just need to open our mind and shift our perspective.
Each situation offers valuable lessons, even if they may not be immediately visible.
Every failure and tumble is a chance for growth and for learning, and opens doors to new possibilities.
Our stumbles, mistakes, failures and challenges are part of learning, part of growing, and simply part of the journey.
Looking at it, it’s really quite amazing. When we mess up or cause harm, we’re still given the gift of opportunity, a chance to learn, and ways to grow.
It’s up to us whether we take advantage of that and whether we are appreciative and grateful for what’s there and what’s possible.
Something about lemons
At some point, life — and you, yourself – will give you lemons.
Learn to make lemonade, lemon meringue pies, and lemon bars. Learn how to use the lemon to freshen the taste of fish and to punch up the flavor of a summer salad.
The point is we will get stuck with something, and we can either let it bother us and drag us down, or we can find a way to make the most of what’s there now. That’s why it’s so helpful to remember that life happens for us, not to us.
We make mistakes. We fail. We get knocked down. We face consequences.
In all of this, and on the journey of life, it’s not about being perfect, it’s about how we respond, recover, and make the most of our life journey.
When we fail in some way, when circumstances are tough, and when life’s challenges knock us down, we’re best off taking action to recover, forgive, and to learn and grow from this point on.
Key mindset shift:
- See mistakes, stumbles, and challenges as doors which have already been opened revealing paths to recovery, growth, learning, and possibility.
Realizations to consider:
- Every failure and tumble is a chance for growth and for learning, and opens doors to new possibilities.
- It’s not about being perfect, it’s not about never messing up, it’s about the way we respond and recover, and make the most of the journey we are on.
Actions to take:
- Accept that the past is the past.
- Dust yourself off.
- Actively learn and grow.
Fellow Journeyer @ BigSkyRise
Many of the practices for moving on from mistakes and missteps apply in circumstances regardless of whether they are our fault or not.
Often when life presents challenges to us we expend effort and build a cycle of negativity by blaming the world for all of the ways in which it isn’t fair to us.
So, even if you are facing difficulties which are not consequences of your own actions, reflect on the ways you can move forward and grow stronger so that difficult circumstance don’t grow worse.
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