HOW THE MISTAKES OF OTHERS SHAPE OUR LIVES TO BE HAPPIER
I wouldn't exist if it weren't for one man's mistake. Last week, a man who was very closely connected to my family passed away. He wasn't close to me or my parents in a traditional sense but he made mistakes that shaped the world I grew up in. This man was my mother's ex-husband.
More than 30 years ago, this man cheated on my mother, changing the course of history for my mother and my two sisters as well as my own dad, who my mother would later meet. I grew up knowing about this man's mistake. I didn't know him personally but I knew of him, what he had done, and his effect on the lives around me. This wasn't because my mother or father bashed on him, but because when I was young, my sisters would go to his house and I couldn't understand why I couldn't go too or how he was related to them but not to me. Because this man and my mother had children together, he was always part of our lives, even if distantly (to me).
But here's what I am getting to. In my mind, this man had always been defined by the mistake he made in cheating on my mom. This never was from a place of resentment or anger, but just an acknowledgment that he'd messed up. But it wasn't until he passed away that I realized the full impact he had on my life.
Although he was always defined by his mistake to me, if he hadn't cheated on my mom, I wouldn't exist. If he hadn't cheated on my mom, she wouldn't have found and married my dad and I wouldn't have 3 wonderful sisters (2 from my mom's first marriage and one from my dads). In the simplest sense, if he hadn't messed up, I wouldn't have the wonderful life I have now. I owe everything I have to this one man's mistake.
Whether he was a good or bad person, someone to love or to hate, it doesn't change the fact that his action changed the lives of more than just him or even my mom. The ripple effect of his action over the last 30 years has defined the lives of so many people and all for good. Sure, his action caused pain but that pain healed and led to so many rich and full lives.
This man's life has taught me that there is grace in every mistake. And the mistake he made allowed me to be born and find happiness, allowed me to share this blog and it's message of happiness with you.
So, the next time someone makes a mistake or your are beating yourself up for a mistake you may have made (big or small), try to approach it with a touch of grace for the person or yourself. You never know what it could lead to and how it could shape who you become and your happiness.
Photo by Ben Dumond