One important thing I think you should know about the human race, we mess up. We do this regularly, sometimes moderately, and very often spectacularly, but we ALL do it.
To Err is Human
Whilst the above phrase has fallen out of favour lately, the phrase “who did the risk assessment on this?” is very much on the up. This, and the continuing popularity of “who can I sue for this?” have resulted in a tendency to try to apportion blame in any given situation.
There is another lesser-known saying that I think applies quite aptly here:
Mistakes are part of the natural world, and need acceptance for what they are. Attempting to eradicate all errors is like trying to wipe out flies – Firstly, it can’t be done, secondly, if it could, sure you might enjoy a drink outside, free from the winged-pesterers for a week or two, but shortly after the whole eco-system would collapse and die in a horrible chain-reaction.
Errors have their place in the world, they are educators. They happen so that we can learn from them.
As you know I myself am very risk-averse, so my mistakes tend to be limited to small embarrassments. For example, the other day I came out of a shop and I tried to get back into the wrong car, inadvertently causing the startled elderly couple in the Mitsubishi Estate to think carjacking had reached rural Staffordshire.
Some people (i.e. Daddy) would say I should have checked whether the car was ours BEFORE trying to scramble in. Of course, I SHOULD have, but I DIDN’T. I will next time though because that mistake has taught me a valuable lesson; look before you leap.
Other people, who are not as risk-averse as me, may unfortunately make more life-changing mistakes. Perhaps, they weren’t lucky enough to be parented by the weird tag-team I had growing up, where one made me learn my fire-exits in every building I entered, and the other dangled me over a 300-foot-drop to show me that heights were “nothing to be afraid of”.
Some people might jump or fall off things that they shouldn’t have climbed. Some might not take out insurance and then lose all their stuff. Some people work in jobs where one mistake can cost someone else their health, or even their life. Whatever their mistake was, it was still a mistake, an error, not a malicious act.
I’m not saying don’t sue, or that people shouldn’t pay due care and attention to what they’re doing, or that there aren’t irresponsible, dangerous, people out there (Grandad). I’m just saying that everyone makes mistakes.
Perhaps for those irresponsible people (for example the kind of person that would dangle a 12-year-old over a castle’s retaining wall) we could introduce some kind of three strikes rule? On their third “mistake” we’re allowed to get properly angry at them.
Forgive Your Own Mistakes
The most important thing I’m trying to say is, if you make a mistake, be kind to yourself. Don’t waste time beating yourself up for mistakes you have made but couldn’t help making.
No matter how much you think about something that has already happened, nothing can make it un-happen, and if you didn’t deliberately do it, how could you have deliberately not done it?
To err is human, and entirely out of your control. Don’t give yourself such a hard time, because they’ll always be someone out there more than willing to do that for you.