Errrrr! I Made a Mistake

We all know that “to err is human.” Then why is it so hard to admit I’ve made a mistake?

As a young cancer survivor, I grew up very protected. My parents encouraged me to stay away from a sport that had ANY risk of injury…and there are a lot. The possibility of tripping, falling or running into another person basically cut out all sports. It’s why I began yoga. Plainly put, yoga has a low risk of injury due to a fly ball to the face. It’s perfect for me.

I am cautious, calculated and careful. I avoid risk and prefer the company of balance and safety. Making a decision is agony. I write “pro and con” lists for everything. In Elementary School I was elected “Class Perfectionist” year after year. I’m still not sure if this was a compliment or an insult…

But in other words, being messy, injured or faulty are not things with which I’m comfortable. But amazingly the safety that originally attracted me to yoga, is now challenging me to accept and forgive the wonderful imperfection that makes me me. It is because yoga inspires growth and learning.

For the type A yogi who has practiced for a few years, arm balances are enticing. The whole process of knowing that something like a headstand is physically impossible and then learning that it’s actually not that hard is exhilarating. There is also a lot of fear when approaching certain advanced poses. Specifically, it is the fear of making mistakes and failing. And after all, failing is the biggest fear we all have about anything. It’s the worst thing ever!!!

My fear of falling, aka failing, has kept me from taking leaps physically. And since the physical world directly relates to the emotional and mental realms, I’m physically, mentally and emotionally afraid of making a mistake. So what am I to do now? Stay in the same safe place without improving or growing? Ugh. I’m more afraid of not growing than I am of making a mistake. Fear’s a bitch isn’t it? So I’ve no other choice. I’ve got to get over my fear, admit my mistakes and move on. Easier said than done.

In order to get over this fear, I’ve got to understand the truth of what a mistake really is and question; is a mistake really THAT bad? And in order to move on afterwards I ask, can I forgive my fault unconditionally?

I do make mistakes. I just don’t like to admit them. But the process of recognizing a mistake is the first step. But then I can’t stay wallowing in my fault and beating myself up. Remember, I’m human. We all make mistakes. So then from there, I move to forgiveness. I practice murmuring “it’s ok, I still love you” to myself, just as if I’m speaking to my 3yr old niece. And then the whole process restarts.

I’m human. And I’m growing, making mistakes and learning from them as I go along. I offer out this personal mantra for anyone interested in moving forward with me…”I can safely and lovingly say, I’ve made a mistake.”
–Sarah Girard


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