There is a lot of focus on trust and honesty in relationships. This all sounds great but what does it really mean? I believe that the best connections are those that feel authentic and real. I encourage people to hold onto who they are and speak their truths in relationships, but this type of honesty should not be an excuse for brutal criticism of another nor is it meant to be an excuse to behave poorly. We are much better at pointing out the flaws and failings of others, and in our desire to protect ourselves we quickly point the finger at the other person. There is not a lot of growth in this type of approach to life, communication and relationships. We might feel that we were right, or the other person wronged us in some way, but we might also feel very lonely and disconnected from those with whom we would like to connect.
We can move towards an exceptional life if we can take an approach that requires us to look at our own conduct and then learn from our own mistakes and missteps. It is also beneficial to learn from the mistakes of others (and some people are able to learn by observation), but there is no doubt that the most powerful learning of all is from our own experience. It is also the most powerful challenge. How do we preserve our sense of worth and dignity and learn from our mistakes? How do we preserve another’s dignity in the face of their mistakes? And how can we all learn from each other?
The most important step is to accept that we are all human. We all make mistakes. We all mess up. In fact it is my belief that this is most likely the purpose to life. Mistakes are opportunities, but through these opportunities we grow and learn what we are made of and what we have to contribute. I am not going to pretend that I have been comfortable with making mistakes my whole life, nor do I love making mistakes at this point in my life. When I was younger I was terrified of my own mistakes and wanted to cover them up, or distract people from them. I was so busy defending and justifying my mistakes that I really learnt nothing from them. Through the years, and through some truly humbling experiences, I have come to believe that mistakes are ‘The Yellow Brick Road’ to an exceptional life. Our flaws add character, and these imperfections bond us together as a human race. When I know that you too have been humbled and are imperfect I can relax my guard and expose my true self and my imperfections as well. This is the magical gift of mistakes as they lead to an authentic connection with others and our own personal growth.