Mistakes that Hold Us Hostage

Kim Allen, in a recent article spoke to our reactions to making mistakes. Here is an excerpt:
Have you ever sent the right email to the wrong person? I know I'm not the only person who's ever clicked send only to realize a second later, oops! And all those embarrassing, worrisome and anxious feelings that often follow this mistake have the potential to put me into a tail spin and ruin an otherwise good day.

What is it about human nature that makes it easier to dwell on the one thing we did wrong rather than on everything else we did right?

Mistakes are what they are. They happen. Feeling badly about them is only an opinion based on a limited perspective. That's because 'beat myself up' thoughts and emotions like guilt, worry and "I can't do anything right!" trigger a cascade of physiological responses that not only wear us down, but prevent us from thinking clearly or seeing the situation any other way. We literally can't remember all we do right.
That last sentence is interesting. What it is about mistakes that captivate us and hold us hostage. Why do they seem to blind us from seeing all the things that we did, or do, right? For me I think that it is ego or pride. Doing something stupid, or even just making a simple mistake, is humbling and reminds me that I am not too swift at times and still have a ways to go. Looking back I can really laugh and learn from some of my mistakes. My goal is to be able to laugh at my mistakes a bit sooner.. and maybe get a bit humbler.

What reaction(s) do you have when you make a mistake? Any stories?


  1. I sent the right email to the wrong person as an expression of my displeasure concerning a dinner date when I was single. The first mistake I made was using my corporate email account since I did not have a personal email address for the gentleman I was hoping to reach. The mistake is simple a clear demonstration of Romans 8:28. The result of my blunder was meeting a wonderful Christian man who within two years, became my husband. (My mistake was in 2001) I was actually sending the email to a man of the same first name (last name unknown)in my corporate office so thought I was sending it to the correct person. I remember thinking ("...this has to be the right person in the global address book. How many men named 'Jose' can possibly be in my corporate office?" When I received a reply questioning my email, I further embarrassed myself by insisting the man I had gone out with was so rude he was denying that he ever took me out! It was not until an exchange of three brief notes that I discovered what I had done. I literally crawled under my desk and shut the door, I was beyond embarrassed. ~Reba~

  2. You are right, at least in my case. Focusing on mistakes to the exclusion of everything else,or even expecting the worst when there is no sensible reason to expect the worst are ways of putting myself at the center of all creation. This kind of behavior is a kind of idolatry I have to struggle against daily.


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