Yes, that’s right. Don’t punish yourself for any reason whatsoever.
During the course of your life, you will do things that may be harmful or injurious to others. You will commit misdeeds and make mistakes. There are systems in place to punish you, have no fear about that. The Universe will naturally point out those mistakes – you will reap the painful rewards of your actions in a matter of days, weeks, months or years. In addition, you may be punished by society as well – fined, isolated by your friends, penalized, sent to jail, or even executed. Your mistakes may even cost you your life. Therefore, it doesn’t make any sense to suffer punishment both internally and externally. If you are inevitably going to experience punishment for your mistakes and misdeeds from the outside world, why punish yourself in addition? Does punishing yourself over and over and spending years of your life in regret and depression make you a better person?
Apologize for your mistakes. Try to understand why you made them. Resolve to do better.
Hating yourself for your mistakes does not make you a better person. Learning from your mistakes makes you a better person.
Mistakes Are For Learning
You cannot benefit from the mistakes you make if you insist on punishing yourself for making them. If you do that, you will avoid doing anything so you do not make mistakes, and then you will cripple your learning process. How can you learn without making mistakes? Who in their right mind will demand that you must never make a mistake?
Imagine you were learning to play the guitar. And everytime you plucked the wrong string, I hit you with my cane. Do you think you would look forward to our lessons together? Don’t you think you would come to hate the guitar altogether?
In the same way, life is supposed to be a process of learning and fun. It is our approach to making the mistakes — which are part of the learning process — that makes life painful and hard. Allow your mistakes, and life will become fun again.
Mistakes Are Sinful
Let me point out that you didn’t come to this planet with an instruction manual. There is no instruction manual for Life. And so, if Life has no instruction manual, can God really blame you for making mistakes? Wouldn’t that be quite silly of Him/Her, to punish you using standards which He/She never even educated you about?
If there was a Manual for Life, and God was playing fair, everyone would come out of their mother’s womb with a copy of it in their tiny, newborn baby hands. But that doesn’t happen. And there is a reason for that: you are meant to learn by making mistakes. That’s the implication of having free will — the ability to choose, and to learn from your past choices to make even better choices as time goes on.
(I was discussing this with somebody once and they retorted, “Yes there is! The Bible is the manual!”
You didn’t come out of your mother’s womb holding a Bible, or a Koran, or a copy of the Bhagavad Gita. This means either there is no single manual for the whole of life, or God is unbelievably careless, or God did not actually intend for the Earth to be populated only by people of one particular religion. Can you imagine how boring and narrow life would be if everybody was a Christian? Or a Moslem? Or a Buddhist? Tibet, Saudi Arabia and Rome would all be the same! We would either have no Islamic art, or no huge Buddha statues and temples and Shaolin monks, or no massive cathedrals with stained glass windows just to name a few. What a sad place. If there is any version of Earth like that, I’m sure glad I wasn’t born on it.)
Mistakes Make Life Interesting
Imagine a genie appeared before you and said, “Hello, ___ ! Today, I will grant you three wishes!”
You are excited. All your dreams are finally about to come true! You can taste the money, the power, the success…! YES!! YES!! YES!!!
And then the genie says, “Oh, by the way, I will grant you three wishes, but I WILL TELL YOU WHAT TO WISH FOR. You can only wish for what I tell you.”
Seriously? What fun is that?
Well, that’s just a glimpse of the kind of frustration you would experience if you didn’t have the freedom to make mistakes.
Higher Spiritual Communication
How do you treat people who offend you? Do you hate them, or do you realize that they may be making mistakes, and try to understand why they are making those mistakes? Do you even try to find out whether you might be the one making a mistake in this particular case?
People do not murder, maim and steal because they love themselves. They do these things because of lack of love for themselves. They do these things because they really do not know any better, and in that instant that particular behaviour seems to be the best available option. 99% of the time, they really do not understand or appreciate the full consequences of their actions. They are lashing out, acting erroneously – they are making mistakes.
Next time you have a quarrel or an issue with somebody, examine what you are saying and why you are saying it. Are you really trying to solve the problem? Are you trying to understand the other person and why they did what they did, and get them to understand you, and end the misunderstanding? Or are you just using words as weapons, to try to wound them? How will wounding them lead to the problem getting solved?
Higher spiritual communication is about understanding the power and use of language — using language to gain greater understanding in all your interactions, rather than using language carelessly or to destroy. Imagine if every one of your quarrels could give birth to a greater, deeper understanding of your “enemy”?
You might even discover, as I have, that some of your best friends and business partners are disguised as enemies!
Look At Nature
Look at the animals. How many times have you seen a lion cry with regret over the violence it does? How many times have you seen a snake cry after it raids an unprotected nest and gobbles down a bunch of innocent baby chicks?
Animals do what is in their nature. They do what is necessary and do not waste time on regret. They only observe what does not benefit them and avoid doing that in future.
You can only have a habit of blaming others if you have a habit of blaming yourself.
You cannot love others if you do not love yourself. You cannot forgive others if you deny yourself forgiveness. What you hate and despise in others is really something you are denying in your own self. And so, if you learn to love and accept yourself even with all your perceived faults, you will find it more and more difficult to bother yourself about the deeds of other people, even when they do injustice or evil to you. You will easily let go of grudges and judgment.
How to Take Advantage of Your Mistakes
Your mistakes can be more precious than gold. To take advantage of your mistakes, recognize them as opportunities to change your life. Every mistake you identify is another opportunity to become Who You Really Are, or Who You Really Want To Be. Capitalize on this understanding and use every mistake as a stepping stone to becoming your highest, most powerful self.
As soon as you notice a mistake you made — something you did that you didn’t like, or that did not have positive consequences for you — don’t put off fixing it until sometime in the future: make a note immediately to try a different course of action the next time a similar situation comes up. And whenever you notice yourself making a better decision as a result of a mistake you made before, smile at yourself! Reward yourself! Congratulate yourself with a huge pat on the back! You are becoming a Spiritual Genius, a Master of Life!
As you practice this, you will begin to notice yourself making new and interesting decisions, and responding to old problems in new ways! You will witness your own wisdom growing, and I can tell you from experience it is the most thrilling thing to behold! It feels like the excitement of creating a masterpiece, except that the masterpiece is you! You will feel the awe of watching yourself becoming a “learning machine”, a machine that uses its errors as data to further its evolution.
You are using your mistakes as building blocks to turn yourself into a god or goddess!
And if you do this long enough, you will eventually arrive at this diamond of understanding:
You are always perfect, and you are always beautiful. You were born perfect and beautiful. You cannot become less than perfect or beautiful — you can only THINK that you are.
Again, I recommend reading The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. It will give you a lot of insights into your perspectives on yourself and others.[sc name=”post-disclaimer”]