I used to think that I knew things, you know? That every mistake, sorry, life lesson, was just a learning and that it contributed to my growth. Whether the damage was irreparable or simply a trifle, I believed that there was some teaching which a disgruntled human like myself could find a message in.
My beliefs now stand shaken. How many life lessons, sorry, mistakes, can a person make before they begin to seem as a way of life rather than a simple learning?
Who is a bad person? Who defines the concepts of good and bad? I keep repeating to myself that bad actions or bad behaviour doesn’t make a person bad. But who I am to decide? In my own head, my actions are everything I make them out to be. But, as one of these majestic life lessons have taught me, not everyone lives in my head.
I love the idea of justifications. Why did you do something that you’re taught is a bad thing? It’s easier to forgive something when there is an explanation for it. But do you really move forward when it’s always held over your head?
I don’t want to spend my life atoning for the sins of my past. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to apologise or rectify or try and make things right. But the truth is, there’s no such thing as a clean slate. This is the reality. Moving forward is one thing, but you’re still moving forward from the place of the – lets call it a ‘hiccup’ – and it’s still a significantly large deal in the scheme of things.
This idea of life lessons is simple. You learn from something, and that’s it. Situations change, as do people. Everyone has their own life lessons to grow from. Empathy is a wonderous concept, but you haven’t really been in the other’s persons shoes, because you don’t have every single bit of information and experience that defines them in that moment. Moments come and go, but the outcome is here to stay.
Guilt-ridden and spiralling into a well filled to the brim with ghosts of memories past, I wonder if every white lie I’ve ever told should come back to haunt me. Every mistake I’ve ever made, does it really define me? How do I allow myself to move forward from being the person I was to the person I wish to be? That yardstick is so long that I might as well call it quits right now; it’s an impossible goal to achieve. But I have to keep trying, don’t I? Because that’s what I want to define me: the courage that it takes to overcome these hiccups and truly strive to be a better person or not.
It’s not about the end goal, it’s about the journey. The journey isn’t a straight path, from the mistake till the end. Mistakes keep happening, but it’s up to us to turn them into life lessons. Guilt and spiralling is one way to go, but the ability to learn from our mistakes is the defining factor.
Embrace your life lessons. You can’t always fix what you’ve broken, and it takes a great deal of acceptance to allow that realization to dawn upon you sans resilience from your mind, hell-bent on making amends. Sometimes, making amends doesn’t mean that you can turn the situation which went awry around. Sometimes, you just move upwards and forwards, and that’s one of the biggest life lessons you could allow yourself to learn.
People are the sum total of their experiences. I don’t think we get to pick which ones we allow to define us, because at some level, every experience, be it good or bad, surfaces at the opportune moment in different scenarios, leaving the choice to us. Once bitten, twice shy or simply, take it as it comes?