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Making mistakes


Picture the scene: I’m in the cafeteria of a police station in London, where my brother has been showing me around. I’m queueing up for some breakfast and feeling unbelievably nervous surrounded by so many police officers.

I didn’t want to put a step wrong for fear of being arrested. So I queue up to get some food, I choose a croissant some fruit and orange juice and go and sit at the table waiting for my brother, and suddenly I feel eyes on me. ‘Why are people looking at me?’ I thought. And that’s when my brother walks over and says ‘Meg you haven’t paid.’

Oh. My. Gosh. I haven’t paid. I was so distracted by feeling nervous that I hadn’t noticed the till at the end. I speedily raced back, apologised, paid and returned to my table with a red face. ‘Sorry’ I said to my brother, ‘What a mistake to make – forgetting to pay in the middle of a police station!’

Mistakes, I’ve made more than a few, and some of them of them a lot worse than stealing food from the police. We all make mistakes, it’s part of being human, growing up and trying new things. We’re not perfect and we’re not always going to get it right, but it’s how we learn from those mistakes that matters.

When you were a baby learning to walk you would have fallen many, many, times. Each fall, stumble and unbalance was a mistake that you got through before you learned to walk. You persevered, and you did it. Making mistakes, as with falling when we learn to walk, is the natural way to learn and grow. But sadly sometimes we put pressure on ourselves when we get it wrong.

I remember speaking to a girl years ago and she told me how she hurts herself when she get something wrong to punish herself. The guilt she felt about even minor mistakes caused her to self-harm but I really believe that what she needed to learn was self-compassion. And, actually, I think we could all do with learning some self-compassion – learning that we’re only human, that everyone has flaws, that we get it wrong, and learning to forgive yourself is so important.

Whatever that mistake is in your mind, reframe it today as a new opportunity for growth.

Keep trying, keep learning, keep forgiving yourself. Today is a fresh start to try again.


Photo by Carolina Heza

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