Monday, March 15, 2010

Weekly Reflection (week 11): Mistakes

Do I fully own up to my mistakes?

Oblivious my recent vow to abolish pointless comparisons, this morning I seem to have sailed my ship right into the shoals of self doubt and despair and here I continue to wallow. Excuse me while I engage in the fruitless questioning of “do I ever really learn anything?” I am feeling a bit like a broken record and irritated by this as part of me believes I should be moving on or further ahead. And while I’m heaping insult upon myself, why not read what others are up to and see how magnificently they all are doing? All this is my way of excusing the fact that what I am about to write is really nothing new here. But maybe it is a little deeper digging into some of my issues that are ready to be uprooted and burned upon the pile of outmoded coping mechanisms.

There was some calm in my seas this past weekend. What could have been a chaotic weekend seemed to settle into place with some rather nice pockets of down time. Saturday afternoon I managed to spend an unspecified chunk of time at the dining room table blissfully painting away in my art journal. The gray day was conducive to staying internal and there was this lovely stretch of time when even thoughts seemed suspended and there was just flow.

And then, all hell broke loose. You see, the Husband decided to indulge Cowgirl (but really himself) with the purchase of a Wii. (Yes, he betrayed his intentions by hours of online comparison-shopping, debating with me the merits of a Wii versus and X Box which - he let slip – really had more of the kinds of games HE would enjoy playing. I voted for the Wii.) I think they were boxing when things started to go south. And then he switched to Lego Batman and Cowgirl was Robin and THAT did not sit well.

As I listened to the shrieks and accusations “That’s not nice!” And “No fair, you beat me!” I got thinking about this need to always be right, to win, to have things “my” way. Yeah, it is pretty normal kid stuff, but how do we explain this behavior in adults? While I can lose, can compromise, make messes and screw things up I am never, Never wrong.

My husband, much to my irritation, has brought this personality trait to my attention on multiple occasions. Oh, I can admit I messed up but … There it is! The loophole … the tiny verbal brick wall I erect to explain and/or excuse my misstep as something beyond my control. I am not totally accountable for my mistakes because there is always a good reason for why they occurred. And even when it really doesn’t matter, I cannot let rest the statement “I made a mistake.” I am compelled to continue … “but there were extenuating circumstances!”

Listening to my daughter fight against any notion that she might not be fully skilled and able to Wii box her daddy and win, I got to pondering why I find it so unacceptable to fully admit my mistakes as just that - miss steps, miss calculations, misunderstanding or lack of complete mastery of … whatever! I honestly cannot remember a time when either of my parents would admit being wrong to the other. I almost typed “defeat” in that sentence and isn’t that telling? Discussions, arguments were always – yikes! – boxing matches in which there was to be a winner and a loser. Never a draw and never a notion of discussion as a means for both parties to come to a new understanding, a new perspective, never mind the notion of a willing compromise. My parents battled and they battled to win.

There was always a sense of a desperate defense in these battles. What was at stake for each of my parents was a sense of being perceived as whole, healthy, not flawed, and in total control. But underneath all that was an aching need to feel seen, heard, understood, accepted and loved. Why things had to be an either/or situation continues to baffle me. I guess in order to legitimately embrace another with all their quirks and flaws – hearing them and honoring their perspective - requires we first embrace ourselves warts and all. To be confident in one’s self while acknowledging we all are works in progress, allows for the possibility of change and growth.

I know all too well to not take risks for fear of failing is to stunt potential growth. To ask for help is a sign of great wisdom, not weakness. And even being weak has its strengths. Today a friend posted a picture with this saying by James Joyce “Mistakes are the portals of discovery.” I think the trick is not to fear what one might discover, but to embrace the notion that every discover points a way towards the deeper truths.

Do I allow myself to admit I am wrong? I have struggled with this but today am recognizing the only one equating “wrong” with “not being worthy” is myself. To own my mistakes is to be fully ready to move on from them. I am so ready!


  1. ~i couldn't help but laugh...sorry...everything you said is so real in my world...especially the weekends when husband is home and the video games come out for them to all play NICELY together...HA! i often have to remind my husband of their age...remember they are younger than you...REALLY!?! as for the owning up to things...its hard...but possible...i wish you much strength to move forward...owning accepting...walking a new path...much l♥ve and light...brightest blessings~

  2. I really love and empathize with this post... I have been working for a while on my struggle with "always being right" - and arguing until I feel justified or, as my fiance said, until I feel that I have "won." This more often than not involves snarky remarks and nasty vibes. It's not fair, it's not healthy, and it's not realistic. Why am I so defensive? Would it kill me to kindly and peacefully concede? I've learned a lot from communicating with my fiance... that being passive-aggressive isn't an acceptable alternative to argument and that life, relationships, etc aren't a competition or some ongoing debate... *JUST.LIVE* :) xoxo

  3. This is such a thought-provoking post. Making mistakes is really tough for me too, but I'm trying to feel more at ease with it...because I think it's a very important part of my artistic process. If I'm not willing to fail, then I'm not taking risks--and if I'm not taking risks, then the art (for me) doesn't have real meaning or weight to it.

    Thanks for sharing so honestly and openly here!