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Being wrong's a learning experience

Photo by Vicki Harris

Photo by Vicki Harris

There is a quote by the poet Alexander Pope that says, "A man should never be ashamed to own when he has been in the wrong, which is but saying, in other words, that he is wiser today than he was yesterday."

It can be a difficult thing for us to admit our faults, or to acknowledge when we are wrong. Sometimes, it is even more difficult for us to accept hearing someone else highlight our faults to us or call us out when we are wrong.

Granted, no one wants to hear destructive, mean-spirited feedback, even if we are in the wrong. This kind of communication attacks and causes people to become defensive and attack back. No learning occurs, therefore, no growth occurs.

But some of us reject any feedback at all, constructive, or otherwise. This is ultimately a rejection of the growth that is necessary to receive wisdom.

My mother used to say to us, "don't ever be someone who nobody can't tell anything." This meant that it was necessary to our life's journey that we are teachable, that we listened to feedback that meant us good.

Growing up, I was one who would look at other people's lives and ponder over the decisions that created those lives, good, or bad. I learned many lessons this way.

There are experiences that we go through that serve as our mirrors. In those experiences, we are able to see who we are at that moment. Who we are at a given moment of an experience is revealed through the decisions we have made, the way in which we have responded, and that next step taken. However, who we are at a given moment evolves. We change and we become different. We do not stay the same, but when we have grown, a new pattern is revealed.

When we begin to think about the collection of life experiences we have had, we, at some point, should be able to see a pattern of growth. Better decisions, rather than the same poor ones time after time. A sense of resiliency and responsibility, rather than being knocked down and crippled by every difficult experience or consistently blaming others and remaining the victim.

Wisdom is not merely learning from past experiences or past mistakes, it is being able to identify the behaviors or thinking that bred the experience and produced the mistakes. Having wisdom, is not the absence of mistakes, rather it is the presence of insight.

This is why even in our wrong, and even with all our faults, wisdom can come, unless we resist it. We resist wisdom, when we refuse to acknowledge when we are in the wrong or when we refuse to admit our faults. We are essentially saying, "I don't want to be any wiser than I am right now."

It is actually freeing to be able to admit being wrong. It is like we have permission to get it wrong sometimes. As long as we learn from it and are able to recognize it and do something better the next time, we are wiser than the time before.

So, let us embrace each new experience with greater insight being willing to learn, open to growth, and ready to be wiser. Do not resist wisdom.

Be encouraged.

Contact columnist LaTonya Dunn at ln_dunn@yahoo.com.