I saw a friend’s post on facebook the other day that said “If we learn from our mistakes, I should be a genius.” Who hasn’t made a mistake with their finances? I talk with clients all the time about mistakes they’ve made with money; accumulating too much debt, bouncing a check, making poor investment choices, trusting someone who wasn’t trustworthy. These mistakes tend to draw people down into themselves, making them feel ashamed of their actions, fearful for the ramifications, and gun-shy for getting professional advice.
This time of year, as most of us are preparing our taxes, we tend to turn our thoughts to what we’ve done with the figure showing on our W2s. How long ago January seems when we think about our New Year’s resolutions and what little we may have done to accomplish them. Don’t give up or get down on yourself. We all make mistakes, some bigger than others for sure, but we’re not perfect creatures by any means.
What have you learned from your mistakes? If you take some time to think about the situation, with time and perspective as your tools, you will come to know what lesson each mistake taught you, when, and why. Then you need to move on to the stage of forgiving yourself and those who were involved. I’m not suggesting you forget, however! Sometimes mistakes will keep friending us until we’ve learned what it is they want to teach us, and sometimes that lesson is forgiveness.
There’s a song by Alannis Morrisette that goes, “That I would be good, even if I went bankrupt…..that I would be good even if lost some money.” I don’t think it was any coincidence that, despite it being several year’s old, I’ve heard it a few times in the past week. It’s good to remember that we are good, that we can and do make mistakes, and move on.