October 9    

Today's quotation:

It is the highest form of self-respect to admit our errors and mistakes and make amends for them.  To make a mistake is only an error in judgment, but to adhere to it when it is discovered shows infirmity of character.

Dale Turner

Today's Meditation:

In his song "Everything Must Change," Paul Young sings "I was never one to back out of an argument and say I was wrong / Even when I'd seen the other side I'd hide my foolishness and carry on."  This is extremely destructive behavior, both to ourselves and to those with whom we share our worlds, but it's behavior that is very easy to fall into, to perpetuate, to live.  If we can't admit our errors and make amends for them, then we're living a lie-- or better said, a series of lies as we think we're covering up error after error.

Imagine someone suspecting and accusing someone else of stealing from him, and then finding out that what he thought was stolen actually had been misplaced.  The best thing that we could do in that situation is to apologize for our suspicions and make amends.  But there are many people who simply would say something like, "I was right to suspect him-- just because he didn't steal it doesn't mean he's trustworthy."  I can't remember how many times in my life I've heard such comments, no matter how unjustified they seemed, from people who simply were unwilling to admit that they had made a significant mistake.

We all make mistakes.  Some of us make fewer than others, but the true test of character is how we react when we discover the mistake.  Mistakes are normal and pretty much inevitable.  Not admitting our mistake and sticking to it simply to "save face," though, is something that can keep us from making the most of our lives, for our stubbornness will act as a ball and chain, keeping us from flying in the heights because we refuse to use the key that's there for us all the time-- the key of humility, which can free us from the destructive thoughts that we create and maintain ourselves.

Questions to consider:

Do you admit when you've made mistakes and seek to make amends when possible, or do you hope that time will make people forget about your mistakes?

Why is it so difficult for some people to admit to their mistakes?

What effects might we have on others if we don't make an effort to make amends with them when we've made mistakes?

For further thought:

How many times do we pay for one mistake?  The answer is thousands of times.  The human is the only animal on earth that pays a thousand times for the same mistake.  The rest of the animals pay once for every mistake they make.  But not us.  We have a powerful memory.  We make a mistake, we judge ourselves, we find ourselves guilty, and we punish ourselves.  If justice exists, then that was enough; we don't need to do it again.  But every time we remember, we judge ourselves again, we are guilty again, and we punish ourselves again, and again, and again.  If we have a wife or husband he or she also reminds us of the mistake, so we can judge ourselves again, punish ourselves again, and find ourselves guilty again.  Is this fair?

Don Miguel Ruiz

more thoughts and ideas on mistakes



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