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Made a huge mistake? Here’s how it can make you a better person.


Made a huge mistake? Here’s how it can make you a better person.

Penny Younger

Today I saw a rerun of Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Lance Armstrong, when his cheating scandal had just come to light.

In it, she asked him about whether he can come back from the scandal.

He then answered the question from the standpoint of whether he could come back to the sport of cycling and she interrupted him and said she meant whether he could come back as a man, as a person.

She directly said “Has this helped you become a better human being?” That question really pulled at my heart strings, not because of who she was interviewing, but because of the question that she posed.

Are you a better human being? Are you now getting out of bed differently? Do you think different things? Have your priorities shifted? Do you look at the world with different eyes?

In life, we all make mistakes, given, we don’t all make $75 Million dollar ones, but we all make them on a range of magnitudes. Mistakes come in all shapes and sizes and sometimes they catch us by surprise.

The thing that matters is the lesson.

What has this come to teach me?

Mistakes, if we learn from them, are lessons. Why has this been presented in my life at this moment, what has this come to teach me? From here, we must listen to it’s whisper and hear what it has to tell us. Invariably, the answer will always come.

Life  isn’t supposed to be all beer and skittles, it’s supposed to have parts we don’t like. It’s supposed to have people who push our buttons; the situations that make us uncomfortable is what makes us, if we let them, grow into better human beings.

I’ve made mistakes, lots of them, and I’ve been at the receiving end of other people’s too. Who hasn’t? I can however, confidently say that the biggest lessons I’ve received in my adult life have come from listening to the whispers hidden in my hurt or in my mistakes.

They have presented themselves to me so I can learn to forgive, to hold on, to let go or to come back to myself, and to remember what it is I want out of life. Who I am and who I want to be.

Mistakes, both yours and mine, have a ripple effect. Sometimes, your mistakes aren’t actually for you, they’re someone else’s lesson that you must help them learn.

Striving to be a better human being, no matter your mistakes or their ripple effects, is what learning is all about. We’ve heard that life is about falling down and getting back up, but this step in the middle is what needs to be taken in between the falling down and getting up.

The reflection; “What’s my lesson? How can I become better, because of this?”

When you fall down, it’s important to take a second and reflect what brought you there, whether it’s your actions or someone else’s. And in getting back up, we first need to know what getting back up is. What does it look like? Where will that take us?

Give yourself space in between falling down and the getting up, to sit; assess the lesson, to feel it, and to know how you can become better because of it.

Life is about growth, bettering ourselves, and constant renewal. So let’s make a point of honouring our dark spots, our mistakes and our shadows, for it is those spaces that inevitably lead us back into our light and make us better human beings.