6 Lessons I’ve Learned From My Own Mistakes

by Self-Knowledge

Traveling the adventures of life, whether personal or professional, particularly as one tries to mature in our Catholic faith and holiness, the experiences inevitably are accompanied by a fair share of missteps and unforeseen challenges. 

Mistakes serve as humble, poignant threads as one ages and matures, weaving together a life story of hopefully growth and greater resilience!  If you can muster the strength, perhaps in the rear-view mirror, each stumble offers invaluable lessons!  It’s like Christ’s light shines the next steps forward, even after the stumbles, and His encouragement and consolation lead to self-discovery as His follower and the desire to do better the next time!  

In my exploration of being fully human with the desire for the divine, I’ve come to view my mistakes as lesson-learning stones on my wonderful life journey as a daughter of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

6 Lessons I’ve Learned From My Own Mistakes

Mistake #1: IMMATURITY OF FAITH

My loving parents sacrificed a lot to send me to Catholic schools, take me to Mass, and prepare me to receive the Sacraments.  It was not until I was in my 50s that I had a beautiful encounter with the Lord Jesus, who invited me into His loving relationship as my Brother, Savior and Lord.  No more compliance…only Christ’s compassion!

Lesson #1: MERCY

Now when I see people suffering, I am open to stop, pause from whatever I had planned to do in that moment, and listen; offer encouragement, practical guidance and prayerful support.  The Holy Spirit called forth from my heart His will for CatholicUprise, a global movement of Catholic generously, utilizing the 14 Works of Mercy!

Mistake #2: EGO AND PRIDE

I was raised in a very loving and capable family where silent expectations were set early on in school and life to achieve, make my mark, do something valuable in the world.  I began to feel quite self-important, and worse, sometimes more important than others. Pride set in, creating great satisfaction with what I had accomplished!!

Lesson #2: HUMILITY

I remember hearing Fr. Tom my pastor once stating in a homily that we all should “strive to remain little in Jesus.”  That sounded so strange to me. Who wants to be little when I have felt good about being big and important? I thank Jesus for sending me many embarrassing or painful experiences that have produced fruits of modesty and tossing any pretense in the trashcan!

Mistake #3: HURT FEELINGS

Pain that I feel in my mind, heart, and soul when someone, particularly one with whom I care deeply, rejects me or speaks ill of me would set me back for hours, days, even weeks!  I would lose energy, become distrustful, sometimes angry, and speak ill of that person, putting right back into the universe the very “ugly” they gave me!

Lesson #3: FORGIVENESS

When Christ commands in Matthew 5:43-45 “love my enemies and pray for those who persecute me…” I know that He says this so my heart may remain in a state of grace so I may be the child of God, be a sister in Christ, and please God my Father in heaven.  This is so difficult sometimes, particularly given all the suffering in the world at the hands of other human beings.  Only with grace can we truly forgive.

Mistake #4: CONTROL

Of all my mistakes, I think this aspect of being the decider of what I want to do in life and where to go, make decisions to determine my own future, got me into serous troubles at different stages of my life’s journey.  Never once would I consult with God the Father, Son, nor Holy Spirit!  I had to maintain control so I could maintain my own authority over life.

Lesson #4: GOD’S WILL

Praise be to God that He was patient with me doing things my way until my way was actually not in my best interests!  God came running after me, put me up on His shoulders, and carried me home to the Catholic Church and my faith. He offered me a loving relationship where I learned that He actually thirsted for me, and loved me and favored me more than I could ever imagine!

Mistake #5: UNFORGIVENESS

This is such an ugly side of me when it shows up…probably the emotion I am most remorseful of…when trying so hard to keep a clean and loving heart, it feels like a setback when resentment and bitterness move in. Being unwilling or unable to forgive someone is a terrible limitation that actually harms me more than the one I am angry with!

Lesson #5: LOVE

Such an incredible holy gift of forgiveness, only possible from the Divine!  It also requires a giving of my free will to forgive and love again, especially an “enemy” or someone who has harmed me or a loved one. Without it, I would never have been able to experience a pure heart, which is where true Love resides! I have no choice but to swallow the bitter pill and transform the hurt into loving another!

Mistake #6: PUNISHING

When I have poorly treated another human being, made in the image and likeness of Christ, due to jealousy or retribution for hurting me, wanting them never to do it again. Nothing good has come from punishing.  I have inadvertently diminished their dignity as well as mine, setting in motion distrust and rarely inspiring any changed behavior.

Lesson #6: GRACE

Only with God’s grace can I better recognize and manage my emotions and responses to others and better change my behavior to give family and friends the ‘benefit of the doubt.” Making efforts to move beyond my presumptions of situations and my judgement of others to a healthier and honest recognition that I am as flawed as the next person and in need of Grace too, do I invite the Lord to love through His Grace!

May your own life lessons walking your mistake and learning stones direct you firmly on a most holy path home to the One who loves you more than you shall ever know!

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Image: Photo by Marcos Paulo Prado on Unsplash

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