It’s no coincidence that many people who do find true love will admit that they hit “rock bottom” or something close to it before changing their approach.
Maybe they even call it the “mistake of their life”, something that was so difficult and probably traumatic, that it changed their entire thought process. The event changed their way of dealing with people. Maybe it even shifted their values just a little bit.
What explains this phenomenon?
Learning About Yourself
Why is it that sometimes we have to make a big mistake BEFORE we’re “allowed” to discover the heavenly bliss of true love?
Well before we get into the scientific discussion, let’s go back to the beginning of our own memories. When you’re young, you feel very idealistic. You’re focused. Enthusiastic. You know what you want and you go out there and get it.
First off, we see why it’s so easy to make a BIG mistake at this point in your life. You’re still learning. You’re broadening your horizons. You might be questioning things you’ve always believed or that your parents believed.
Even more difficult, is the fact that many young idealists only see “the man of their dreams”, a paragon of everything masculine, attractive, and ethical.
It’s inevitable that going into dating without much experience, and seeing things from an idealistic perspective, can lead to disappointment. Soon enough, you meet new people. You have your views on life challenged. Some people disappoint you. Others use you or take advantage of you.
The idealistic “You” might not be expecting all this complication. So yes, it’s safe to say most of us will be disappointed at some point in our life if we jump into a situation with an unguarded heart – and we get hurt.
So you could say that complication helps to DEFINE you. What you really believe. Our difficulty in life, and yes even in dating, helps us to determine what we really want, believe, and need to be happy.
The First (or Second or Third) Mistake
Just don’t be too hard on yourself. Everyone makes mistakes. It’s actually kind of difficult for a young person NOT to take risks, go after new adventure, and take a chance. It’s the best time in your life to be an adventurer!
The only thing that determines a little mistake from a big mistake is how extreme the consequences are. But everyone makes mistakes. No one can be shielded from mistakes or from challenging life experiences.
The question is: do you run from it or learn from it?
Some people go through life running away, rather than learning from their mistakes and growing because of it.
It’s no surprise then that they usually jump into a nearly identical relationship after leaving the toxic one. They run away from the pain (finally) but they never actually examine the source of their pain, and analyze how they always end up in this place.
Someone who refuses to do this soul-searching is refusing to grow. They’re ignoring the patterns. You might even say, to use an old adage, they’re not “learning from history and so are doomed to repeat it.”
The best way to avoid making the same mistake over and over again is to “embrace this mistake”, rather than running away from it or pretending that it never happened. Or blaming your Evil Ex for everything that happened.
Embracing your mistake means you accept that you made it, you took the time to learn why it happened, and now that you see the consequences, you’ve learned how to avoid making that same mistake twice.
Mistakes Alter Our Thought Processes
You could also say that once you make a big mistake and experience grief because of it, you alter your thought processes. When we go through life on “auto pilot” we tend to resist doing anything differently.
We avoid change. We do the same routines and patterns that make us feel comfortable…and we perpetually build the current world as we want it.
People will usually not alter their thought processes or question their daily habits, UNLESS it starts to cause discomfort. The pain, the avoidance of discomfort, can motivate us to make major changes. Even trauma, as horrible as it is, can go a long way in teaching us self-preservation – avoiding the things that hurt us.
When you make that BIG mistake, that forces you to confront the thought processes and attitudes and even habits that have led to this pain.
That shocks you into making major changes. Changes in your habits. In your attitudes. And most of all, your thoughts, which is where it all begins.
Heartbreak Opens Your Eyes
Once you make that big mistake and feel so cheated and so robbed of happiness, two things can happen. You can become a slave to that pain, or you can open your eyes and realize that this is NOT who you want to be anymore. You deserve better than this.
And starting now, this moment, you are going to reinvent yourself.
From now on, you’re going to define the relationship you want and stop the toxic patterns of the past that ALLOWED these bad relationships to form.
And when you do finally find the man of your dreams – not the paragon, but your true love, you start to see why those past relationships never worked out. You grow as a person and can see everything in hindsight.
Now that you make mistakes and experienced pain, you can appreciate what you have now. What you have found. And yes, even the “journey” that brought you here.
You realize that your life is not just a series of mistakes and miseries, but that you’ve been learning valuable lessons all along. In that way, you can say that you don’t regret the past. Because the past taught you. Accepting the past turned you into the happy and productive person you choose to be today, not the unhappy person you were years ago.
For that reason, we can be grateful for our one big mistake.