Lewis Carroll's 'Alice in Wonderland'

Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’

Mistakes. We all make them, right? … Right? 

… I guess, then, it would be bizarre to you if I said I don’t think so. Except, funnily enough, I’m a bizarre guy, and that’s exactly what I am telling you.

A few months ago, after some deep reflection upon my previous choices in life, I came to a realisation. Possibly the biggest realisation I’d had up until that point, when it came to embracing life as it was.

So, what was this realisation? There are no mistakes.

I can imagine the look on your faces now, and thoughts along the line of “Oh, so if I drop and smash my phone – that’s not a mistake?!” Well, that’s exactly what I’m saying. It wasn’t a mistake. It was purposeful. Maybe you needed that break from your phone, maybe you needed to disconnect a little, whatever the reason – although it may not always be apparent at first, things seem to have a purpose behind them when we reflect.

Before I get into this, it’s probably worth us all getting on the same page by what definition I’m using for the word “mistake.” The definition of “mistake” for me is: “an act or judgement that is misguided or wrong.” Something you do that is ‘wrong.’

I can understand that this is probably a strange thought to get your head around, but hopefully that won’t deter you from allowing me to explain myself.

You see, whilst I was sitting there and thinking of all the ‘wrong’ things I’ve done, the people I’ve hurt, stole off and the like – on my journey of finding myself again, it hit me; I wouldn’t be who I am without what I did.

There’s no guarantee that I would’ve made the lifestyle changes I made, no guarantee that I’d be here writing this blog, I could be a totally different person… and I like the person I am, now, and I liked the person I was when I was having this realisation. Whilst I didn’t much care for who I was back when I was wronging people, it helped me become this person.

So, was what I did in my past ‘wrong?’

Just because I don’t regret what I did doesn’t mean I’m excusing it. I take full responsibility for what I did. I know what I did, I know why I did it, and I know it’s mine and mine alone to carry. Where I can, I’ve rectified those that I ‘wronged’ – not out of regret, but out of being a better person.

Now, let me clarify, whilst I liked who I was at the time of this realisation, it was evident that I was not accepting myself entirely. Why was it evident? Because I had regrets about my past, and with regret comes the inability to accept who we presently are.

What makes you say we can’t accept ourselves and regret things?” I hear you ask, mentally. My reasoning is simple. What you did played a part in who you are, and if you cannot accept what made you become who you are – it’s pretty clear you cannot accept who you are entirely, by transference.

Imagine a close friend saying, “I completely accept you for who you are, except for that thing you did.” — Not really complete acceptance, is it? Why would you treat yourself any differently than anyone else finding full acceptance for you?

So, as I was explaining, if we can release the notion of regret – then, in my opinion, we can, in turn, release the notion of mistakes. The word mistake implies the action or event was wrong, and to say it is wrong is to not accept (regret) what it is that happened. It takes from the purpose of the action itself. For, if we like who we’ve become, the event has served its purpose in shaping us to become a person we’re content with being.

How can we say anything is misguided or wrong when we accept that every event is presented to us to shape us, to help us grow, to become who we want to be?

We can’t. More often than not, we’re just not comfortable with who we are, and as such – act in a way that we’re not comfortable with. Even then, this is purposeful – it is ‘right’ – to show us what we don’t wish to be. It’s not a mistake, it’s a growing experience. It shows us who we do want to be.

If we find full acceptance that where we are is where we’re meant to be, there’s no longer any room for mistakes. There is just purpose, everywhere and anywhere that we look. To paraphrase Lewis Carroll in ‘Alice in Wonderland’ – “If you don’t know which way you’re going, it doesn’t matter which turn you take.” It’s not about becoming a person we want to be, but accepting who we are currently – once we can do that, we only become more of that which we want to be.

Taking a ‘wrong’ turn might make the journey longer, but that’s just more time you can be appreciative of where you’re heading. A longer journey isn’t a mistake, it’s just one of the infinite paths that we could walk down. There’s no one telling you that you’ve got to arrive at a specific time, so why are you pressing this urgency upon yourself? You’ve got time to walk the roads that are out of the way.

There are no mistakes. There are only longer paths.