What Value Can We Find In Our Mistakes and Failures?

A by-product of living on this earth includes the accumulation of a mental list of decisions you may wish came with access to a delete button or at the least, a reset feature. I am no exception.

Some of us may regret buying that expensive car or neglecting to save for a rainy day. Then there are those of us who have wrestled with the past and regretted life choices that diverted the path once envisioned.
I spoke to a young woman last week who proudly proclaimed that she was thrilled about her approaching anniversary. She went on to say, “I wouldn’t change a thing. I would marry him all over again.” After congratulating her, that tiny sting pricked my heart, reminding me that I had experienced failure in marriage.

Using a GPS analogy, imagine we have a highlighted route of our intended life map that swoops up and curls around perfect mates, beautiful homes, loving children, and career success. There are many starred destinations along the journey we “type into the search bar” early on. Sometimes our expectations turn out to be out of line with reality. At other times we encounter events we don’t expect, such as a closed road or traffic jams that delay our journey.

The point is, we are dealing with moving parts. Our future is dependent on many other people and events beyond our control. If you are honest with yourself, you can evaluate the role you have in situations and recognize when you did what you thought was right with the information you had at the time.

As for my own map, I’ve made course corrections by being open to new paths and learning opportunities. Reflecting on how to improve after failures is essential. Those who focus on finding fault and blame with everyone around them resist growth. At the same time, we can’t seek out taking responsibility for all things that happen. There is value in balance.

Thankfully, I have a fabulous family and wonderful marriage. I used to think of my past as a series of accidents between peaceful paths along the highway ending in the familiar voice that said, “recalculating, recalculating.”
I’ve come to understand why I have made the decisions I have and how I have learned to be strong during tough times. Rewriting your personal story and highlighting a new kind of journey that may backtrack at times and dip up and down can still lead to some great destinations. Maybe it’s all about how you look at it.
May you keep your GPS on and face forward.

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