Making mistakes

@surviving childhood trauma is a good resource and I particularly like their Instagram posts. They are often right on the money. Today’s post caught my attention:

“As an abused child you were not taught that mistakes happen as you grow and learn. Instead you learned that mistakes made you a bad person. They brought consequences, and they reaffirmed that you were not good enough for the people you looked up to for love and reflection. You are not a bad person when you make a mistake. Please be kind when you do and remember you are healing, learning and growing.”

In the past, mistakes have affirmed worthlessness, and my badness. This core belief stopped me from embracing new situations and environments. It prevented me from relaxing and being at ease. I constantly thought I was going to get in trouble, people hated me, I was going to be found out.

At school I got into a lot of trouble because I thought I was bad. So I just acted out. Later, in professional environments, I experienced a lot of anxiety and internal self loathing. This was linked to a number of things, including fear of making a mistake. Doing something wrong meant severe punishment, in some cases death. I always felt on guard.

I have learnt a lot through making mistakes however. I pretty much started making films that way and fell into most things through the process of learning by doing. Mistakes were a natural part of this, but on self reflection, the core belief that I was bad if I didn’t get something right held me down. Depression kept me in a fog and disconnected to my feelings, so I just got on with things. I learnt how to apologise effectively and sincerely. Over time though I think my fear of making mistakes and the belief that I was bad, contributed to my alcoholism and downfall. I retreated, gave up, got scared. Doing twelve step recovery helped me to unpack some of these things and also helped me to become more willing to make mistakes. I can take on board critical feedback now with greater capacity, but I still have a long way to go. It was good to read the post and identify to start to challenge these deep seated beliefs, although I feel like I am poking at a wound.

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