“Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.” – Oscar Wilde
Experience…mistakes…funny that they can be interchanged. Funny that we objectify rather subjective, personal events. Because mistakes do give us experience and can actually make us experts in those areas; those areas we delve into seeking answers…knowledge…perfection. Then we are graded based on these “experiences.” And in turn, we grade ourselves; comparing our successes to our failures. But, here is where we are wrong. There are no failures…no “true” mistakes, just experience and learning.
Of course some experiences have heavier consequences and this is where the concept of mistakes comes from. Just because the result may not be what was intended, in the short term, it was still an experience that brought with it learning. I’ve made countless “mistakes;” many of which I have given far too much weight in defining myself. It puts such a negative spin to life and those important learning events, I feel.
So, what experiences would be would we classify as mistakes? Relationships…a job…something you did at work…a poor test grade…a spill…trusting another…a missed opportunity…? [Please share any of your thoughts]. And how much have you reprimanded yourself for these? I know that I have…and still do. Because, they are mistakes…miscalculated decisions. But now think, have you also learned from these? So…experience.
I am, currently, trying to forgive myself…make amends for a decision that I made not too long ago. I really wish that I could see what the future looks like sometimes because, as an indecisive person, I want to know what I’ll learn from this.
Having MS, I really don’t know how others perceive the concept…or me. I don’t want it to define me, but I DO have it so…I OWN it. It comes with me everywhere; like that blanket or teddy bear forever attached to a child when they are young. Having this experience, I can’t possibly pin point a mistake that lead to this…and I hope I never do, to be honest. But, everything I’ve done has brought me to this point and, when I reflect, I am generally content with my life thus far. I’ve taken aspects that weren’t great and learned from them…that touching the hot stove top will hurt! That, instead of walking for an hour…or even half an hour…I’ll walk for 15 minutes several times in that day.
It’s just like the objective experiences we put towards our careers; in job applications…as requirements…as assets that qualify you for that position. You wouldn’t categorize these as mistakes…am I right? You want to sell yourself…with experiences; and, I think we should do that for ourselves. Find the confidence, the learning, the experiences we’ve overcome and are going through. To sell you to yourself; and keep your learning experiences your own. No one person’s life is identical to another person’s. Though, we can relate to one another through the choices we make and the challenges we face…the similarity in decisions or mistakes made.
Keep learning and find success…find happiness, specific to you. We also try to objectify our happiness; quantifying our quantitative successes. We display this through materials, money, and other measurable means. But, it is so much more simple…so much more personal…so much more subjective to each individual. No one can decide what happiness you are entitled to, because you ARE entitled. I am entitled. Getting this far, no matter the distance, I’ve had experience; I’ve learned, I’ve chosen, and I’ve been happy. Learning is ongoing, with experience. And my happiness…with myself and my life…is ever growing. So…I guess what I’m saying here is that, when you’re down on yourself, reflect. And in that reflection, remove those objective mistakes and focus on what you’ve learned. Teach yourself to be happy with yourself, in your experiences. You are your subject of study! I am mine…and learning through my experiences.