Last Friday night while sitting at a Mediterranean restaurant listening to my husband play Latin Jazz, I picked up a local magazine for women and paged quickly through what seemed to be "another Holiday gift guide" when I came across this insightful article by Margie Maddux Newman. In it, Newman suggests what my counselor advised me years ago, our mistakes can help guide us.
She quotes San Francisco Chronicle columnist Jon Carroll as saying “Failure is how we learn. I have been told of an African phrase describing a good cook as ‘she who has broken many pots.’ If you’ve spent enough time in the kitchen to have broken a lot of pots, probably you know a fair amount about cooking. I once had a late dinner with a group of chefs, and they spent time comparing knife wounds and burn scars. They knew how much credibility their failures gave them.”
Not only do our mistakes give us credibility but Newman implies that they have power (when we own them.) Our failures are our own. They go with us as reminders of where we've been and where we could be. However, it is how we view them that can make or break us.
Don't even get me started on my kitchen fiascos. From trying to microwave a whole egg in a glass measuring cup and soon learning a new lesson in physics as exploding egg pieces decorated my kitchen crevices, to broiling a pan with parchment paper a bit to close to the element, I am quickly gaining a fair share of battle scars.
Then there was the year (not too long ago) I received let's say roughly five speeding tickets. Several fines, a couple of driver's educational courses and nearly having my license revoked has me driving much safer and wiser.
But what about the failings that aren't fodder for a comedy routine? Like a business plan gone wrong? Money invested poorly or living beyond our means? (All of which I have had to live and learn) After the initial stages of grief, I came to a place of acceptance. A place of looking back and looking forward at once. Remembering and revising. Giving myself the grace to know my mistakes and use them for good. So how about you?
Are your mishaps friend or foe? How can you give yourself the gift of grace in the sight of failure especially now?
And as Newman reminds us :
" The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything." William Connor Magee
image: Kris Chau