I’VE made so many mistakes in my life, I’ve lost count.
I‘ve cried so many times, I’m amazed I have any tears left.
I’ve picked myself up from rock bottom on so many occasions, that I’ve gotten rather good now at getting on with life when the s**t hits the fan or when things go horribly wrong.
But yet I still wouldn’t change any of it for the world.
Sure there are things I’m embarrassed about and even a few things I’m ashamed of, but I have no regrets. Every mistake truly has been a lesson. A big ol’ shove towards being the woman I hope and want to be.
If I’d had any sense though, I’d have learnt my lesson from other people’s lessons.
I’d have listened and paid attention. That would have been the smart thing to do.
But hey, at least now I’ve got stuff to write about. *winks*
Here are ten of the greatest mistakes I’ve made as a woman. If you’re a smart cookie, listen up, because it may just save you some heartache.
1) Confusing lust with love
If I had a pound for every time I’ve made this humdinger of a mistake… well let’s just say, I’d have enough to buy myself one very fancy pair of shoes.
And I lay the blame firmly at my groin’s door. For the confusion, the agony and all the unsuitable men. (Not that there’s been that many but you know.)
For many years, particularly in my late teens, I thought lust was a sign of true love. That desire equalled longing. That longing equalled love.
But now I know that the butterflies, the fast beating heart, the sweaty palms and the nerves, whilst totally delicious and intoxicating are not signs of love. But of infatuation. Giddiness. And of lust.
And while all of these do have a place in a love story, these signs alone, do not mean it’s the real deal.
2) Thinking I could change people
That bad boy I thought I could tame? I couldn’t. The man who abused me, that I thought I could love to a healthier place? I couldn’t. The friend I hoped I could save, I couldn’t.
I tried. For all of them. But I failed.
People can change but we cannot change them, no matter how much we want to. No matter how much they may need our help.
Some people do change but most people don’t. So save your efforts for those who want to and let the ones who don’t, get on with things themselves.
3) Not appreciating my worth
People treat us as we treat ourselves. I used to think this was a load of baloney, but guess what, it’s turned out to be true.
Our worth does not and cannot come from other people. From what they think about us or how they behave towards us. It has to come from us.
I used to think that the kinder I was, the more I gave, the harder I tried, the more people would love and appreciate me. But I was wrong. So very wrong.
Because nothing changed and all that happened was that I ended up losing myself, my dignity and their respect in the process.
You have to appreciate your own worth, know your value and refuse anything less than to be treated the way you deserve, for others to treat you well.
4) Thinking I wasn’t good enough
Oh how wrong I was. Because guess what? I totally am. And so are you.
5) Hanging on to people for too long
Throughout my life I have given people too many chances, listened to too many apologies and stayed around for far too long.
And this isn’t anybody’s fault but my own.
People show us who they are, all of the time, through their actions and their words. The signs, the red flags, the flashing lights are all there for us to see if we pay attention, which is why choosing to ignore them and continually putting blind faith and hope in someone, is really rather stupid.
If people hurt you once, forgive them. If people hurt you twice, be cautious. If people hurt you again, ditch them.
Never hang on to people who treat you shabbily or to relationships that are drowning. Sometimes – no matter how much you love someone – you have to save yourself.
6) Caring too much about what other people think
When I was 11 years old, I went up to ‘big school’ and immediately gave up playing the violin because I was frightened of being disliked or mocked by my peers.
A classic mistake. And a rather stupid one too because we have less control over people’s feelings and opinions about us, than we think.
Some people will love you. A handful would probably even die for you. But many others won’t and certainly wouldn’t.
If you’re lucky, you’ll be liked by many and hated by a few. But make no mistake, everyone is disliked by someone and that’s ok.
You cannot make people like you and you sure as hell, cannot make people love you. So you’re best off forgetting about what other’s think and just concentrate on being yourself.
7) Failing to live up to my own potential
For my University dissertation, I got a score of 68. Two measly points off a first (the highest grade you can get). I was pretty happy with this score and still am, but yet I can’t help but wonder what I could have achieved if I’d just pushed myself that little bit harder.
I used to think I didn’t apply myself properly because I didn’t need to or because I was lazy. But now as an adult I know the truth.
I was s**t scared. Scared of realising my potential. Scared of achieving something greater.
The comfort zone appeals to us because it’s warmer and safer. We know where we are and what to do to get by. But here lies too many broken dreams.
Wanna reach your potential? Then get out there and face your fears.
8) Thinking other people were my responsibility
It’s a heavy weight to bear when you’re carrying other people’s burdens and expectations. When you feel like someone else’s happiness is your responsibility.
But bar being a parent and being responsible for your children, no one else’s happiness is our cross to bear. And no one should ever expect us to make them happy. Because we simply can’t. It is beyond our control.
The only person who is responsible for my life and for my happiness in this world, is me. And that’s just the way I like it.
9) Not realising that dreams can come true
Freelancing changed my life. Because for the first time ever, it made me realise how much control I have of my own destiny.
When I first started nearly five years I was terrified. Of all of it. But making my own money, finding my own work and achieving success in my own right, has been liberating and life changing.
I now know that there is never any harm in asking for anything, when the worst possible answer can only be no.
I now know that opportunities come to those who seek them and work hard to find them.
I now know that treating all people well and with respect, pays dividends when it comes to both personal and professional success.
And I now know that dreams can indeed come true but only if you go out there and make them happen.
10) Thinking that my mistakes would ruin my life
When I was 17, I did something that I thought I would never recover from. When I was 18, I stayed in an abusive relationship for so long, that I lost part of my soul. When I was 19, I hooked up with a dreadful group of people.
When I was 23, I moved to a place where I knew no one but my partner and felt the loneliest I’d ever felt. When I was 27, I went to a job that was totally wrong for me and thought I’d ruined my career. When I was 31, I worked for clients that I hated. When I was 34, I made the mistake of believing someone and ignoring their actions.
Yet, I am happy. And very much alive.
Our mistakes in life can often take us to the pits of despair and force us down on our knees, but if there’s one thing I have learned from all of them, it is this.
More often than not, our mistakes are the very making of us. If, we allow them to be.
Which is the greatest life mistake you’ve made as an adult and what it has taught you? Would love to hear all of your thoughts on this one!
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