I am a truly imperfect person, and this is beautiful.
But the irony is that I am a perfectionist.
Making mistakes, having flaws; I find these chips beautiful and of value in almost everyone else but myself. Many times. And what I am trying to accept is that these chips and rough edges can make everyone - including myself, including those I need to forgive and those I am holding prejudice toward - beautiful.
However it depends on how we treat our edges. If we run the sharpness across walls and leave scars all over because we can't reach acceptance and see the beauty in imperfection. If we allow our emotion toward our mistakes to dominate and dictate who we become and how we interact, then our damage doesn't do us good. But damage can shape us into an even more developed and endearing image of who God created us to be.
Being a perfectionist, my recommendations to anyone struggling with the meaning in their mistakes would be:
Try to slow down or stop for a moment. Don't let your emotion toward the mistake dominate you. Breathe. Do yoga. Take a shower. Go on a run. Hold a cold ice pack for two minutes. But don't let that emotion overpower you and destroy you. It is natural to be upset over making a mistake. But seek out a healthy method of finding calm. Note: Sometimes it can be useful to combine skills. For example the ice pack, then a gentle yoga session afterward.
Figure out what needs to be addressed. Sometimes what upsets us is a mistake we would be better to smile at (if we can) and move on from. Learning to smile at smaller mistakes (tripping down the stairs, falling out of a yoga pose) helps with being able to move on from the more mortifying mistakes we make (forgetting to pass in that paper, sending an important text to the wrong person).
Choose to let go of the emotion toward the mistakes where it doesn't need to be addressed. For example embarrassment or guilt for forgetting to hand in that paper or sign up for the lecture. Then deal rationally with the aftermath. Could you contact your teacher and ask for extra credit? Could you sign up for a different lecture or course? Then act on it.
Some situations, our emotions need to be addressed. Like the shame over gossiping about your roommate on a bad day, or the sadness and anguish over your uncle's diagnosis. Try writing down a chart with what you feel and think on one side, and what the facts are on the other. Fact: I gossiped about Kim behind her back. Feeling: I feel guilty and know what I did was wrong. Fact: My uncle has cancer. Feeling: I am afraid he will die. Then find the truth and act. Truth: I gossiped about Kim and since I know it was wrong I feel guilty. How can I move forward to speak differently in the future? Could I talk to her about what is bothering me and find a solution together? Truth: My uncle has cancer and I am afraid he will die. Who can I talk to or pray with to find peace over this?
Action and reaction. Take your steps to make it right, then choose to truly let it go and move on. This is the hardest part. Stand your ground. Your emotion may try to pull you right back into its vortex. Allow your mistakes to be beautiful and shape you for the better, and find your value apart from the past.
"The truth is, we are much more than our mistakes and are valuable apart from our imperfection. While it is crucial to learn, grow, and move on from our mistakes, wearing them as scars will not serve us personally or relationally." -Nicole Zasowski
To better help you, here is an article from a professional, Nicole Zasowski, who explains this much more eloquently than I just did.
My best to you,
Erin Elizabeth Duffy