Mistakes We Live

Gwen Randall-Young

It’s hard to admit we’ve made a mistake. The bigger the decision, and the more profound the consequences, the harder it is. If we’ve made a big investment in the square peg, and can’t return it, then we may be tempted to try every possible way to get it into the round hole. Even if we are damaging the peg and the hole, we may still keep trying to force the situation.

If we’re in the wrong job, or working with people who frustrate us, or do not respect us, we may complain about the job, or try to change the people. This can be very damaging to our self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-worth.

The reason it can be damaging is because unless we are in a situation that is based on true cooperation, and in which our input is genuinely welcomed and appreciated, our efforts will have little impact. They may even meet with resistance, but either way we will feel negated, rejected or ignored. These are not healthy feelings. Either we accept the fact that we are not in a truly democratic environment, and live with the consequences of our choice, or we find somewhere else to be.

The third option is to be an agent of change, but this also must be a conscious choice, because it is an extremely difficult path. It may or may not be comfortable, depending on the situation, but for sure it will exact an emotional toll.

Now let’s imagine the same scenario, but this time it’s a marriage. Your spouse is just not acting the way you think a spouse should. He/she is not attentive, loving, interesting enough. He’d rather watch T.V. (always) than be with you. She’d rather be out with her girlfriends than to spend time with you. So you might rant and rage, nag, withdraw into silence, or distance emotionally. If this starts going on for years, any of the above responses may begin to become a way of life. You find yourself turning into a nag, or perhaps pulling back into your own little world.

At some point we have to ask ourselves how long we want to live our lives as the disgruntled employee, or the frustrated, alienated spouse. The problem is if we do it for too long, we lose the belief and confidence in ourselves, as well as the energy to do anything about it. And discouraging as it might seem, no one else can make it better.

We must decide what we deserve and know that we are worth it. We can only make our needs and wishes known, and see what the response is. If the pattern is that we don’t count in the workplace, or in our own home, it may be time to count ourselves out.

Gwen Randall-Young is an author and award-winning psychologist. For permission to reprint this article, or to obtain books, CDs or MP3s, visit www.gwen.ca. Follow Gwen on Facebook for inspiration.