Sometimes we make mistakes. We slip up, forget birthdays, say hurtful things to people we love, or fail chemistry four times. While it’s natural to tiptoe around mistakes like they were a fast-burning fire, they are inevitable. In such cases, we can’t help but rationalize that maybe, just maybe, they happen for a reason. Maybe some lessons are better retained when they get slapped violently across your face.
And though these occasional blunders oftentimes hurt, the best way to deal with them is not to mope or run away — but to look at the ugly problem straight in the eye, dust off the grubby parts, and start over. Ever wonder why older people, when asked, “Do you have any regrets in life,” more often than not, answer “No”? That’s because there are lessons to be learned from the very things we try to avoid.
There is a time in your life to learn, absorb, listen to people’s advice, and follow all the rules. But there are times in your life, whether in your control or not, when you will make mistakes. In which case, wipe the tears off, face your own demons, and find what these things can teach you. Maybe you’re like me, and your best teacher happens to be the worst version of yourself. (Poor us.)
You loved the wrong person
The charming mestizo who smelled like magnolias beguiled you with a selfish definition of “love.” Which meant: how fast you could reply to his texts, or how much more time you would spend with him over your friends. He never really cared about you, or your thoughts, or what you were into. If you’ve loved this person, it’s okay. One day you will finally wake up from his Casanova spell, and you will become introduced to your incredible self-worth. A self-worth that insists you are worthy of someone who supports you and molds you to become the best version of yourself, even if it means you cannot devote all your attention to him.
You got another “F,” forcing you to drop out of your course for the nth time because you were out all night binge-drinking and accidentally slept through your big exam. Take a breather. Reassess your plans. What do you really want to do with your life? Because, obviously, you don’t seem to care much about this. When you realize where you went wrong and figured out what you want, go for it. Learn that sometimes, even with things that you like, sacrifices have to be made in order to achieve your dreams.
You lost a lot of money
You spent too much on overpriced drinks at Valkyrie, or on dates with people you found on Tinder but didn’t really like. Money doesn’t grow on trees. But sometimes losing money forces you to value things that are not expensive at all. Like company with longtime friends at home, or long-ranging conversations with someone who inspires you. Those are free. You learn the value of money when you lose it, or when you have to work hard to earn all of it for yourself. Try it.
You kissed promiscuously
You gave them away like you had an unlimited supply. You just kissed and kissed, careless and free. You kissed until you started to lose count, and your lips began to feel numb from sensation. Move on. One day, when you’ve had enough smacking, you will understand when they say quantity isn’t everything, because you still long for a kiss that will make you feel something else. A kiss that isn’t hungry, or aggressive, or drunk — but one that makes you dizzy while sober, or one that lingers across many dreams.
You were over-entitled at work
You became annoyingly pompous because you were born with a Last Name. Or treated other people as lower than you just because your boss is Mommy’s friend of a friend of a friend. You assumed that just because you graduated with honors from a top university, you deserved to be on top, even without clocking in the ample work experience. Get over yourself. So that when you come to realize that respect is earned, and not given, you will be gifted with a humility that will follow you forever.
You were discriminating
You judged other people based on their class status, the color of their skin, or the way they styled their clothes. You hurled ridiculous, immature insults at people you didn’t even know for laughs. Be careful: when you find yourself on the other side of the fence, you will come to accept that discrimination and bullying are really only a reflection of someone’s own insecurities, and it’s relative wherever you go. Stop the name-calling, learn to become more open-minded, and you will find that people will start to see the true good in you, too.