The Mind of Jason


by on Apr.22, 2012, under Uncategorized

We are all flawed, we all make mistakes, we all fail at times, we are all imperfect. In addition, we all have some level of difficulty facing this and accepting it. Most of us if we were asked, “Are you perfect?” could easily answer this “No” and explain that no one is perfect etc. However, when we are confronted with a specific imperfection, a specific “flaw”, a mistake we made, a time when we failed or anything similar we often fight the notion that we made a mistake. It becomes much harder for us to admit that we are not perfect at these times, even if we are telling the person “I know I am not perfect”. Many times we add “but…” and some reasoning as to why it was not our fault, why we did not fail, why the mistake wasn’t ours or why we couldn’t avoid making it. Many times, we are in a state of denial.

Now, this does not happen to everyone, nor is every time we explain why we failed or why something was not our fault an act of denial. There are times when we are not to blame and the fault is not ours, when we are more a victim of circumstance. It is a very easy trap to fall into though, to blame others for your mistakes.

So, why do we sometimes fall into this trap? Well there are a couple possible reasons. The first one is that it is a lot more comforting to us to blame someone or something else for our mistakes. No one likes to make mistakes; no one likes to be wrong. Another reason is society. Society is set up in a very punitive way. If we make a mistake we get “punished” and let’s face it, no one likes to get punished. This fear of punishment leads to all kinds of problems. One of the biggest is the passing the blame of our shortcomings off on onto other people, the other big one is when we try to hide our mistakes and shortcomings. Both of these can happen because we do not want to get in trouble for being human.

When faced with these imperfections, it can have a tremendous impact on us. Normally this impact is a very negative one. Why? To me it is very clear and easy to see why it has such a bad impact on us. When someone tells us that we made a mistake it makes us worry. It makes us feel bad. No one likes to fail or let someone down and that is how we start to think when we are confronted with an imperfection in us or our actions. We start thinking that we failed, that we made the person unhappy, that they are disappointed ore embarrassed by us. That would be bad enough if that were the end of it, but this can quickly spiral out of control. We start expanding the one small imperfection and starts seeing it as it was not our actions or decisions that were the problem, but rather we start thinking that WE are the problem. We start thinking, if I made a mistake with this then obviously I am making other mistakes, I did not “fail” once, I am a failure. Then we start to think, if I am a failure obviously the person pointing out my mistake is not happy with me, if I am not making them happy then they cannot love me, if they do not love me they will leave me. We start believing that they are rejecting us because we made a mistake.

None of us likes to be rejected, as humans, we are by nature social animals, even those of us who prefer to be left alone, ultimately need to someone to accept us and love us. Therefore, when we start feeling rejected it hurts us a lot. The good news is that while these feelings sometimes occur when we are faced with our imperfections, they are normally not true. Often when someone points out our imperfections to us they are trying to help us improve; show us areas that have room for growth and improvement. Just because we make a mistake does not meant that they do not love us or that they are rejecting us.

Once shown an area that needs improvement, we can go about correcting it. Yes, many people try to correct these areas by using negative reinforcement aka punishments. They think that if someone gets in trouble and faces unpleasant consequences for a certain mistake that they will not make the same mistake again. This approach does work for some people, but not for everyone. A good number of people become angry and hurt. Punishing people for mistakes reinforces the idea of rejection and failure. Punishments can have an even greater affect on a person if the person suffers from depression, bi-polar disorder, anxiety or any of a host of psychological issues. Punishing a person can have disastrous consequences. Unfortunately, it is the norm in society to punish instead of finding positive ways to correct a problem. Using punitive measures only leads to people hiding mistakes and/or people doing the right thing for the wrong reason.

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