In life, we sometimes fall, even collapse. It can be a disappointment or failure at work, a challenge to our health, a relationship in distress or a crisis of faith. In those moments, we can stay on the ground, wallow in our circumstance, see ourselves as victims or we can embrace the challenge, extract its lessons, come back stronger and better.

Although we may have realized that we learn our most valuable lessons the hard way, and that therefore we may tolerate our mistakes because of their educational value, we are apt to be intolerant of a mistake that we repeat. “I should have known better from last time,” one says.

We should stop berating ourselves. Some lessons are not learned so easily, even from experience. We are human. Rather than blame ourselves for a repetitive mistake, we should realize that the anguish we feel when we have failed to learn from a previous experience might just give us the emotional insight that can prevent that same mistake in the future.

God does not demand, or even request, perfection. He merely asks that we strive toward that goal. There are many stumbling blocks along the way. And we are bound to stumble, and stumble again. But it’s crucial that we see them as setbacks, not defining moments. Don’t see yourself as being incapable of moving past what you have done. 

In fact, new mistakes can shed light on old mistakes. When we do something wrong once, we may make only a superficial repair. Soon afterwards, in a different situation, we again fall flat. We may continue to fall until we realize that all our failures point to a flaw in ourselves that we had never noticed. Once we have uncovered the real reason for our mistakes, we can correct it and greatly, genuinely improve ourselves.

Today, be your own cheerleader. Remember that  even when you make the same mistake over and over again you believe you can turn failures into opportunities to grow and evolve.

Dr. Abraham J. Twerski