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Letter to my Younger Self No. 6 - Mistakes

Dearest Little Julie,

Everyone makes mistakes - many more that we like to admit. Some are big, some are medium, some are small. Some get you in trouble, and some just make you feel bad. When you make a mistake, do you ever feel dumb, and get mad at yourself? That's what happens to most people.

Mistakes happen, and they can cost us a lot, in different ways. You can lose money. You can lose a friendship over a mistake. There are too many things to list that we lose because of mistakes. 

What's the biggest mistake you've ever made? How did you feel after you found out it was a mistake? What, if anything, did you lose? If you were mad, are you still mad? 

Many people never forgive themselves or others for mistakes. Think back to a mistake you made, one that you still feel bad about. What is it costing you to keep feeling bad about it? Does it make you afraid about whether you're good enough? If it does, then worrying about a past mistake is costing you a lot. You might have even lost your courage to try new things, or speak up for what you think and want. 

The best way to deal with mistakes is to treat yourself kindly. Forgive yourself, because being mad only hurts more. Would you agree, that if you knew what you know now, then, you might not have made that mistake?

The thing is, you didn't know that then. Even if you knew it one second later, you still didn't see it that way when you were making the mistake. Otherwise, you wouldn't have made the mistake. You did the best you could in that moment. This is true, even when you tell yourself "I knew better." Trust me on this. 

One thing really GOOD about mistakes is that we learn a lot from them. In fact, we learn more from mistakes than from doing things "right." This is weird, and it's true. When we make mistakes, we pay a lot of attention to what happened, and how we could have done things differently. Then we use this to keep from making the same mistake again. This makes them really valuable. 

While everyone makes mistakes, some people get scared off from trying new things because they've made mistakes. They don't want to take any chances. The mistake made them lose their confidence. I hope you keep trying new things. If you do, you'll be unstoppable, and you'll enjoy life. You won't let fear hold you back. 

Fear is part of life. We can try to avoid it, or choose to dance with it. And for those who show up full force in life, mistakes are simply lessons learned.

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