You Are More Than Your Mistakes

by Shannon Styles
A young black-haired lady with an updo and dark red lipstick looking at herself in the mirror
Ollyy / Shutterstock

On the days when you feel like you are not enough, when you can’t do one more thing, when all of your faults outweigh your strengths, when all people can see are your mistakes, and your good is hiding away in the attic, on those days especially, remember this: You are more than those mistakes. You are more than poor choices, or lost tempers, or little patience. You are human, and since the beginning of time, humans have been imperfect, and being imperfect is perfectly normal. That mom guilt that weighs you down? You know who else had it? Your own mother.

That Wonder Woman who knows everything and is the fountain of all motherly wisdom, she was just like you. She had days when she thought she was failing and losing herself and doubted every move she made. She had days when one more game of Candy Land was enough to send her over the edge, and she fantasized about running away to California for a weekend of no responsibility, and no whining, and no laundry, and just room to breathe, room to be in her own head with her own thoughts and be her own person. Because she is normal. And you are normal too.

Sometimes life gets so hard, harder than you thought it would be when you were young, naive, and idealistic and excited for houses, marriage, kids and adulthood. Sometimes you can feel so incredibly lonely even though you are constantly surrounded by people. And sometimes that loneliness is crushing and even though you love all the people in your life, you can’t figure out why the hell you feel so sad.

And sometimes, the people who are on your team aren’t very good at it for that moment, or that month, or that year. You get mad and act out, and before you know it, you’ve convinced yourself that your team must be broken so you start to fix it, but fixing it is hard. It is so much work, and it seems like you are the only one who is trying to fix it. Sometimes you want to scream at your teammate, and maybe you do. Or maybe you pull your teammate in closer and hold on too tight. Maybe you look at your teammate and can’t figure out who you’re looking at. Maybe your teammate hurt you. And maybe, your team makes poor choices and hurtful mistakes. You sling around ugly words and ugly actions.

But in the end, you are both still here. You got to this place together, and you will get out together. Because that’s what a team is. And you know who else had a broken team for a while? Your parents, or your grandparents, or your great-grandparents. Because they are normal. And you are normal too. And every marriage is a lifetime of imperfections and hills, and every marriage has had periods of time where one teammate works harder than the other.

And if your team can’t get out together, then at least you’ll get out stronger. You know who got out stronger Jennifer Garner. Because she is normal. And you are normal too.

In the end, we are all more than the mistakes we make. Rather, we are the sum of all that we have learned from those mistakes. Stop being so hard on yourself. Stop beating yourself up because all you can see today, on this day, are your failures.

Do you know who doesn’t see your failures? Your kids. All they see is their mom—their beautifully imperfect mother who is the fountain of all motherly wisdom and who makes killer grilled cheese. They see the woman in their life who likes to play board games, but not Barbies, who needs approximately two cups of coffee before she will make breakfast. They see their mom who makes mistakes and then apologizes, and then those kids just move on with their day. So stop beating yourself up. Move on with your day, give yourself a break, embrace your imperfections and call it art.

On the days when it all feels too hard, remember this: You are better than you know. You are normal.