Learning Requires Making Mistakes – I’m Not Perfect

by Sherry Riter in Attitude,Lessons of Life,Self-Development  

not perfect making mistakes

I know it is probably going to shock you, but I’m not perfect and you’re not perfect. Actually, no one is perfect which means that we all make mistakes.

Questions Of Evaluation – What Have I Done?

As the end of 2012 quickly approaches and with my BIG birthday just around the corner, I thought I would share with you the questions that I’ve been asking myself for the past year.

  • What could I have done differently?
  • What mistakes did I make and did I learn anything from them?
  • Is there a common theme in all my mistakes?
  • Do I keep making the same mistakes?
  • What do I value most in life?
  • What has been my biggest learning?
  • Are there any mistakes that I can reverse?
  • What can I share with other people to help them avoid the mistakes I made?
  • What do I want to accomplish with the rest of my life?
  • How do I accomplish what I want to pursue?
  • Am I willing to take risks in pursuit of my goals?
  • How much am I willing to sacrifice in order to reach my goals?
  • Did my mistakes wreck my potential in the future?

I have not only pondered these questions, I have wrestled with them day in and day out for many hours of every day. They have been heavy with accountability, responsibility and possibility.

Mistakes And The Direction Manual

While talking with Alyssa this evening, I said, “You didn’t come with a direction manual and I know I probably failed at being your mother in many ways. I’m so sorry.” That was a very true statement and one that could be echoed by every person who has ever been a parent.

On the flip side, every person born comes into the world naked, helpless, needy and without a direction manual. As we grow, we learn. Some things we learn through other people’s mistakes, but the rest of our knowledge is attained by making mistakes.

A mistake is an error, fault or blunder caused by defective judgment, deficient knowledge, or carelessness.

Mistakes are the key to learning any principle.

Let me repeat that again. Mistakes are the key to learning any principle.

Give the thought a moment to settle in your gray matter and then you can begin to accept it as fact. I know it is hard, but just believe me.

Because we were not born with direction manuals and we did not receive direction manuals when our children were born, we acquire knowledge and do the best we can during our lifetime. The “best we can” is often not good enough, however, it is “all that we can be” at that moment. Here comes the kicker… “All that we can be” IS good enough.

Mistakes And Advice

When I became The Redhead Riter, I was anonymous in a world of millions of other people. It had been many years since I had written anything more than a check. I was unhappy in an unhealthy marriage, felt like a failure, my writing was strained, but my goal was to record the things I have learned to spare my daughter heartbreak.

I was well on my way to finding my voice by writing on my blog every day when that horrible day happened and then I became one of millions who suffer with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which is also known as PTSD.

PTSD changed everything for me. The game plan of life was forever altered as was the chemistry in my brain.

So looking back on my life now also involves accepting my limitations. The same holds true with everyone else. You may not have PTSD, however, you also have limitations of one kind or another. They may not be as obvious as mine or as pronounced, but you are limited.

If you’re saying, “Oh no I’m not!” then consider this…

  • Are you in top physical condition? Are you so physically fit that body weakness, stamina or strength never holds you back from accomplishing a task?
  • Do you have a fear? Maybe it is a fear of speaking in public, failure, bridges, heights, relationships, parenthood, marriage, divorce, dying, giving birth, leaving the house, spiders or success?
  • Are you totally healthy? Do you have allergies, a disease, missing limb, lisp, cavities in your teeth, missing teeth, wear glasses or wear contacts?
  • Does your weaknesses dictate too much time in your life? Are you OCD, ADD, ADHD, drug addicted, cigarette addicted, an alcoholic, thief, narcissist or compulsive liar?
  • Do you have goals with a plan or are you just surviving while you wait to die?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, you have limitations. Some of the things that limit us will also rob us of huge opportunities of health, happiness and/or prosperity. There are two basic kinds of limitations – those we can change and those that cannot be changed. You can give up cigarettes with some effort, but you can’t grow a new leg if you were born without it.

Acceptance of our limitations is crucial while on a path of progression. For instance, you may not be able to grow a new leg, but a prosthetic can mimic a leg which will make you more functional and self-reliant. Another thing about acceptance is that it is necessary to feed our mind positive thoughts. If we are constantly cutting our self down, not only do we stunt our progression, but we devalue our worth.

Mistakes And The Future

I can’t live your life and you can’t live my life.

The future is speckled with mistakes – some big mistakes and some smaller mistakes. What we do with the fallout of our poor choices will determine aspects of our future. For example: If you remain married to someone who abuses you, not only does it affect you emotionally and physically, but all the years wasted in the relationship can not be given back to you.

Accept that you will make mistakes and then analyze them to prevent from being sucked into a life filled with a repeat of the same poor choices. Part of accepting that mistakes will dot our future is also learning to forgive ourselves for making those mistakes.

Shame and guilt will rob you quickly of all happiness. Recognize your mistakes, learn from them and forgive yourself. Your future does not have room for shame and guilt to wreck the party.

I am not perfect and have made many mistakes. I try to improve myself every day and learn from my mistakes. Recognizing my humanity will help me accept and value myself as a unique individual. So the goal is to avoid as many mistakes as possible by being humble enough to listen to good advice. Also, learn from the mistakes we make and don’t let shame and guilt linger long.

Albert Einstein said, “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” Don’t let the unknowns in your future or the mistakes of your past hold you back from a future full of opportunity.

This post was written by...

Sherry Riter is also known as The Redhead Riter. Sherry is witty, intelligent and addictive as she writes about cooking, family, marriage, failures, blogging tips, art, humor, inspiration, travel, PTSD and aging. Her goal is to inspire, motivate, educate and to make her audience laugh. Sherry embraces being a redhead and helps others to see the redhead point of view…"In some eras redheads were worshipped while others thought us witches. Personally, I like the former and think every day is 'Love a redhead day!'" She can also be found on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Linkedin, tweeting as @TheRedheadRiter and you can subscribe to her free blog feed.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 mom November 21, 2012 at 5:38 am

Great Post Sher, I will share one thing for Alyssa. We are sent to parents who can give us what we need to grow in this life. What we do not get form them is for our good and that in itself makes us grow. Some of the most inventive humans were born in horrible conditions and rose above it all to become great! I took from all my mom’s negative input and made it positive later in my life. I realize now if I had not grown up as I did, I would not be me. I love myself and I change everyday. I am grateful to a loving Father in Heaven who was wise and loved me enough to send me where I would gain all I need to become a beneficial servant to him and a human being I can be proud of. Loving self takes a lot of pondering and prayer. You turned out to be a great mom, daughter and person. Love you.


2 Sherry Riter November 21, 2012 at 10:27 pm

Thanks Mom. I love you too.


3 Sue November 21, 2012 at 9:50 am

I am wishing you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving and I am thankful that I found you in the sea of people online. May your blessings multiply.


4 Sherry Riter November 21, 2012 at 10:25 pm

Thank you so much! Happy Thanksgiving!!!


5 Skip_D November 22, 2012 at 8:10 am

I shudder at how many mistakes – er, learning experiences I’ve made in my life… I just hope to keep making new ones, & not repeating a lot of the old ones!

one thing that definitely was & is not a mistake is continuing to read, enjoy, & learn from your wonderful posts! Have a very happy Thanksgiving, Sherry!!! {{{huggsss}}}


6 Sherry Riter November 22, 2012 at 10:59 am

We all make THAT many mistakes, Skip. We just make different ones at different times, but have no fear, we are all in it with you. The non-repetitive thing is what makes all the difference! 😉

Thank you for your sweet words. I’m so glad you enjoy reading my blog.

HAPPY, HAPPY THANKSGIVING to you too! {{{hugsss}}}


7 Joan November 29, 2012 at 5:30 am

Very well said, Redhead Riter! 🙂


8 Sherry Riter November 29, 2012 at 5:37 am



9 Andru December 26, 2012 at 8:00 am

One thing I have learned after I started blogging is that some mistakes are inevitable. No matter how careful you are, you are going to make some or the other mistake eventually. So instead of sulking and fretting over it try to learn from it and try to minimize if not completely eliminating it.


10 Sherry Riter December 26, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Wonderful lesson learned and you are so right! 😀


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