I started something with my Level 4s last week. We ended class going around the room sharing things we were grateful for. And to be honest, I had planned on it being a one class deal. Maybe doing it every now and then, but not all the time. It started with what they were grateful for about dance, their class, or something related to the studio, and of course it became bigger. To name a few comments, dance gave them a break from the stress of homework, it gave them friendships, it made them feel strong. After we finished, these sweet 8-10 year olds begged me to do this consistently. They loved it, it made them feel good, and they wanted to continue it. My hashtag cheesyheart jumped. These kids acknowledged that they had things that they were grateful for, things they were living through, and to be able to express it made them feel good.
So, yesterday, I was holding them over their allotted time already, but there they were, showing up for themselves by reminding me that we needed to share! Thus, we did a lightning round around the room. I said, “What are you grateful for?,” and the first sweetheart that I pointed to simply said “my mistakes.”
WHOA. Gutted. from the mouth of a nine year old. She is grateful for her mistakes.
Couple of things:
- She’s nine. How bad, truly, are her mistakes? We adults, we laugh of course, because her mistakes probably consist of something sarcastic she said to her siblings, or how she forgot to throw away her leftovers after dinner, or show he left her homework that day on the kitchen counter. None of which is a disaster. But in her life, in HER reality, those are mistakes. Faults, things that make her feel like she could do better.
- She is acknowledging, in front of me, her peers, and to herself that those things are things she should be grateful for. That she learns from. That make her a better person. And instead of focusing on the fact that “she could be better” by not doing those things, she admitted them as a gift. She said it with such authority. She owned it. “I am grateful for my mistakes.” And it made me hug her so hard. She said what is maybe not hard for us adults to say, but what I think, is hard for us to truly believe. Are you actually grateful for your mistakes?
As adults we would comfort this child, know that she is human and that she is learning. But as adults, we make a mistake? We berate ourselves. We could’ve done better. We should’ve known better. And we waste minutes, hours, days berating ourselves about what we SHOULD’VE done.
Reminder: YOU ARE HUMAN. Yeah….okay….. DUH. Doesn’t stop us from sending ourselves down a hole of negative self talk.
So acknowledge this….Our mistakes often put us on a better path than we originally planned. Something happens. We make a choice. It doesn’t go well. We have to fix it, and fix it fully or put a band-aid on it to deal with it later, either way, you ARE dealing with it…And that whole saying that things have to get messier in order to get cleaner? It applies to life. Make the mistake, make that split moment decision. Then clean. Wash it, dry it, fold it, air it for others to know what’s up, or keep quiet and keep scrubbing. You do that. We do that. Don’t say you don’t because you are here. You’ve made it this far in life. So, you ARE cleaning up your messes AND you are further tweaking your accomplishments! Because odds are, even from your accomplishments, you have grown to do what you did before, even better now! That’s called experience.
Your mistakes never made YOU broken. YOU never needed fixing. You just needed you to acknowledge that you were taking a path to deepen understanding, awareness, and knowledge about yourself, a situation, or– often the most rewarding– someone else.
So, change the narrative. You did not make a mistake. You made a choice and that choice will require you to make another choice. Just because it’s not the choice you THINK you should’ve made, doesn’t mean it was the wrong one (that’s where faith comes into play, and yes, that’s punny because I, Faith, said it). You should be grateful for what you did because it means you are here. You are alive. You are living. And you are showing up for your life. Give yourself the love and support you would give a 9 year old and her mistakes. Because just as much as her choices are her reality, the way you talk to yourself is yours.