We Need To Let People Make Mistakes


It’s time to let other people make mistakes. I once saw a quote that said:

“We have a tendency to want the other person to be a finished product while we give ourselves room to evolve.” T D Jakes

It hit me right in the goolies. So often in life we expect other people to know better and to be better but we give ourselves permission to make mistakes.

I was reminded of this quote over the weekend as I read a post on iVillage Australia from a woman about to marry who didn’t want that man’s son at their wedding. Before you get all up in arms, the woman actually thought her partner’s son wouldn’t want to go to the wedding and she wasn’t intending to have any other kids there.

I felt for her – she was a woman who was about to become a stepmother who clearly had no idea what it’s really going to be like. She hadn’t yet realised that when it comes to her partner’s son she really doesn’t get a say or, rather, her say does not count for as much as his parents’ opinions on what happens when it comes to him.

I do think she was wrong to ask that of her partner. It’s his wedding too.

What I think was worse, however, was the complete outpouring of name calling and hate that post received on Facebook – “selfish”, “horrible human being”, “I hope he realises the mistake he’s making”, “tell your fiancée, I bet there won’t be a wedding after that” and, worst of all, “I hope she never has any children of her own, she doesn’t deserve to be a mother”.

Look, the woman was wrong. She will look back, in time, and realise it was wrong to ask that of her partner, but that’s what happens in hindsight.

Are all the people condemning her perfect human beings who have never done anything they regret? I doubt it.

Why is it we expect other people to be perfect and never make mistakes, yet we don’t expect the same of ourselves? Why is it a snap moment of bad judgement can forever tar our opinion of others, but we expect to be forgiven for our past transgressions.

If I hadn’t learnt to forgive myself my mistakes, I would be sitting rocking back and forth in a corner somewhere, and I expect you would be there with me.

If I hadn’t been lucky enough to be forgiven by others, I would have no friends at all.

We are none of us perfect, and we must remember to be kind in our dealings with others.

Before you judge someone, walk a mile in their shoes. Then you’ll be a mile away… and you’ll have their shoes.

Have you ever made a mistake? Have you ever forgotten other people make mistakes too?

Image Credit


  • http://johnanthonyjames.com/ John James

    Since my scrape with the Black Dog last year, I’ve made this my mantra…

    If you look for things to hate, your life is full of Ogres.
    If you look for things to celebrate, your life is full of Unicorns.

    I know – it’s trite – but I honestly try and live this way, and I try and apply this to how I relate to other people, and especially to how I use social media.

    We all know people who look for Ogres. You see them on social media, ready to criticise and condemn. I’m just amazed sometimes how little empathy some people have.

    I can’t do it myself. If I start looking for Ogres, it just triggers negative thinking… I’ve realised now that looking for Ogres is one of my Black Dog triggers, so I just don’t do it anymore. I try and focus on the positives, and celebrate people’s achievements, not condemn their failures.

    Call me a dreamer, but I think the world would be a much better place if we all did that.

    • http://kikiandtea.com/ Tamsin Howse

      I can’t tell if you’re telling me not to focus on the negative, or if you’re telling people who don’t forgive others not to focus on the negative.

      • http://johnanthonyjames.com/ John James

        Ummm… I was really just focussing on me actually… how I overcame all that negative thinking last year…

        I don’t think I can really answer those questions for you – do you think you focus on the negative too much? Personally, I don’t think you do – I’ve always thought you were kind of balanced. :)

        But I do think some people look for things to get OUTRAGED by – it’s that kind of thinking that worries me – I suspect that people who look for things to hate only see hate, but people who look for the things to celebrate in life see the good stuff!