What if making mistakes is not a problem? What if the real problem is what we make those mistakes mean, or what others make them mean that we then internalize?
In this episode, I’ll uncover a few of the reasons we are so afraid to make mistakes, and how we can build our own tolerance and resilience to the things we judge ourselves for. When we understand the difference between using mistakes as weapons to punish ourselves with and as tools to help us grow, we can open up to taking risks, speaking up, and letting others judge us without it completely derailing us.
I’m Andrea Giles and you’re listening to the Heal from Infidelity Podcast.
Episode Number 66: Avoiding Mistakes.
Hello, and welcome to the Heal from Infidelity Podcast where courageous
women learn not only to heal from their spouse’s betrayal, but to become
the boldest, truest, most decisive, and confident versions of themselves
ever. If you know there’s more for you than the life you’re currently
living but don’t quite know how to get there, you are in the right place.
Stick around to learn how to create a life that will knock your own socks
off. Is it possible? It is and I’m here to show you how. I’m your host,
Andrea Giles. Are you ready? Let’s dive in.
Hello, my wonderful people. Thank you for being here for yet another
episode, episode number 66 today. So, last week I was able to go be with my
fellow coaches. I love it. I love being around other people that I can
learn from and grow from and push myself. And I got an interesting question
from a couple different people that I want to just tell you this question.
The question was, how do you decide on podcast topics? How do you come up
with it? And is it hard for you to come up with, week after week, after
week? And I’ll tell you that when I first started out, my process looked
like really trying to understand where my listeners are in their journey
and going, “Okay, what would be most useful to them now?” And then what,
and then what? Like charting a course on a journey of what would be needed.
Now, 66 episodes in, I’ve got a lot of content out there. And so now what?
And I’ll tell you what it looks like now. It’s very, very interesting. My
clients don’t know each other, they don’t know each other’s names yet. It
happens without fail where I will meet with people and three people in a
row, we’ll say the same thing. It’s like, they’re all in sync with each
other and have like the same issue that they’re dealing with. So, I have a
little by my desk, keep a stack of index cards and I’ll just jot down
topics, just jot them down. And if it’s something that I feel like I can
address, I’ll address it. And sometimes it requires some research, to do
some deep digging into to understand better myself, and then I bring it
back here. But it’s very interesting to follow the trends and see where my
And anyway. And then sometimes I hear from my listeners, can you please
cover this topic? And then I’ll do my best to honor that. So, just FYI,
that’s what it looks like. And no, I don’t ever feel like I have nothing to
talk about. I have a list of things that I could dive into more. And as I
understand, and as I listen, and as I hear from all of you, so keep it
coming, keep telling me what you need. Okay. Now, onto our episode for
today. So, recently, this is the trend. Want to hear the trend? I don’t
want to make mistakes. I just don’t want to make mistakes. How can I not
make mistakes as I’m navigating this process? Or it looks like this, I’ve
made so many mistakes, how can I judge him when I… fill in the blank? So,
that’s what we’re going to talk about today. We’re going to talk about
I’m going to shine a light on common mistakes I hear clients talk out
often, fear of mistakes and how to tolerate our own mistakes better. So,
first of all, why are we so afraid of making mistakes? It looks different
for different people. First of all, all of us were taught something, some
kind of message about making mistakes. We were all taught some kind of like
either freedom around making mistakes, where we’re not judged, where we’re
not shamed, or some of us might not have had that. Some of us might have
had some shame, some putting down, things like that around mistakes, where
we equate making mistakes with being bad. So, that’s definitely part of it.
But I want to talk more specifically about what I’m hearing from people
about making mistakes as they navigate infidelity. So, I’m going to give
you some scenarios. One, let’s say your spouse is not taking responsibility
for their choice to deceitful in the marriage. They may say that you are
not loving enough or that you’re too critical of them so they couldn’t tell
you. So, you do everything you can to be kind, loving, understanding, but
you’re gripped with this fear that if you slip up and are anything less
than kind, you’re going to be hit with the sword. The swords going to come
down on you. You don’t want the judgment and blame or the backlash so you
do the best you can to tow the line.
Another one is recognizing that any number of things that you do, say, or
don’t do and say can be used as ammunition against you. So, you walk on
eggshells and try to be perfect. For example, if you’re in a situation
where you know that you’re going to be getting divorced and where, again,
he’s not taking responsibility for it, he might look for anything he can to
make you the villain, to tell people, “Look at all the bad things she does.
Look, yesterday she said this, can you believe she said this?” And it’s to
build their case against you. And so, you might feel gripped with this fear
of, I can’t make a mistake. I can’t do this. I can’t make a mistake or it’s
going to be blown up in my face and people are going to judge me.
Let’s look at another one. Some of my clients think that they are just too
flawed to have a really amazing life, to want more than they currently
have. So, they try to white knuckle themselves into being perfect. When
they are perfect enough, then they feel like they can want more for
themselves. Does that sound familiar at all? If I just figure this thing
out, then I’ll be good enough. If I just figure this out, then I can want
this thing. Then I can have a leg to stand on in standing my ground with my
husband or whoever. Another one, some of my clients have a lot of
compassion for their spouse. That’s good. They can see how their spouse
made the choices they did, even if it hurt them terribly. They try to view
things through a compassionate eye.
So, for example, it’s interesting, again, to follow trends, to listen to my
clients and hear their experience. And I have a lot of clients whose
spouses maybe were abused when they were younger, who have things that they
have not worked through. And so, they turn to infidelity because they’re
feeling empty and wanting validation and somebody was willing to pour it on
them, and so, they did step away. So, my clients really try to understand
like, they’re a good person. This is not really who they are. That sounds
good, but here’s where it becomes a problem. Sometimes we try to avoid
mistakes because we are afraid that we will come off as vengeful,
unforgiving, demanding, or callous to our spouse.
We may be afraid that we may hurt them, like that we are going to hurt them
by something that we say or something that we ask. So, we tip toe around
trying to give them the benefit of the doubt, but really not showing up
fully. We’re not really taking up space. We’re not really showing up fully.
And I’m going to talk a little bit more about that later in this episode.
So, let’s talk about mistakes. What is a mistake? By definition, a mistake
is an action or judgment that was misguided or wrong. So, how do we
personally decide what is a mistake and what is not? After all, an action
that may seem misguided and wrong to one, may not be to another, even
within a marriage.
For one spouse, they may think that your actions are not being supportive
and loving, and they may not like how you’re coming across, what you’re
doing. They may think that you’re making a mistake, but you do not have to
agree with their assessment of you. They may blame you for hurting their
feelings, but ultimately, we’re each responsible for our own feelings. So,
here is my take on how to decide if it was a mistake or not. Was the action
you took the thing you did or said out of alignment in any way for the
person you want to be and how you want to show up in the world and how do
you know? So, I’m going to record a whole episode soon on alignment to give
you more insight into this.
But for today, have you ever said anything, said something and known
immediately, “Oh, shouldn’t have said that?” It’s like that yucky feeling
that you feel when you’re like, “Oh, nope, I really don’t want to be that
way. I don’t want to show up that way.” Or when you are in a situation
where people are sitting around gossiping about somebody and you don’t say
anything and you just sit there and then you just don’t feel good. You’re
just like, “Ugh, that was yucky. I got to go take a shower and wash it
off.” So, we all have an inner compass. Our feelings are the clues here to
let us know where we are at. If we feel a sick sinking feeling, it’s worth
looking at. Is it there because it’s out of habit? Are we used to just
hanging out in this negative emotion or is it because we are out of
alignment? If it is the latter, then taking a close look and understanding
why is really important.
What exactly did you not love about how you showed up? What felt off? To
me, this is how we decide for ourselves, if we made a mistake. So, what if
we did make a mistake? So, just a couple days ago, my husband and I
actually had a conversation about mistakes and we were just talking about
our lives and different mistakes we’ve made. And he was telling me how he
has come to the point where he’s grateful for some of the mistakes he’s
made, because they have served as really good teachers later in life for
where he is now. He’s used it as a tool rather than a weapon. So, rather
than punishing himself for different decisions he’s made, he has learned
from them. And I can say, I’ve done the same. They can be very, very useful
when we use them as a tool and not a weapon.
As a tool, they are teachers. As a weapon, they cause harm usually to us as
we replay and rehash our mistake and beat ourselves up for it. So, how
about if we just don’t make any mistakes? Doesn’t that sound nice. So, I
want to tell you a little funny story that I thought of when I was
preparing this episode. I was probably nine or 10, and I remember going
into my parents’ room. And I have to give you a little background. So, in
one of our books of scripture in my faith, it’s called the Book of Mormon.
There’s a story about this whole city of people, city of Enoch. This whole
city of people that were so good and so righteous and just so loving to
each other, that they were too good to stay on this earth. And they were
what’s called in the scripture, translated. They’re taken from this earth
without dying and taken up, up to God.
And I remember going to my parents’ room and very seriously telling them
that I was going to be perfect because I wanted to be translated. And they,
to their credit, had a very straight face, did not laugh at me. And they’re
like, “Oh, okay, well, good luck and good luck.” That’s basically all they
said. It was probably 20 minutes later that I was in a fight with my
brother. And here I am, how many years later? And well, I’m still here. I
am still here, which means that I have continued to make mistakes. And my
friends, you will too. I hate to tell you, hate to break the news, but
you’re going to make mistakes too. So, the question is not, how do we not
make mistakes? The question is, how do we manage our mistakes? How do we
teach ourselves that we can move forward and not live in terror of making
I want you to think about what I’m about to say. What if the greater goal
here is not, not making mistakes, but growing our own tolerance to our own
mistakes, growing your capacity to make mistakes and not beat yourself up
over and over? What if that is actually the greater personal growth, not
avoiding the mistake, but loving yourself through the mistake? This is
massive growth. This is massive growth. The truth is we will make mistakes
till the day we die. It is part of being human, part of the deal. Now, can
we learn how to not make the same mistakes? Yes, we can. Absolutely, yes we
can. But guess what? We don’t learn it by beating ourselves up. We learn it
by compassionately looking at ourselves and understanding ourselves and
telling ourselves the truth about the mistake and how it is creating a
result for us, how it’s showing up for us. Did that work the way I thought
it would? No it didn’t. Maybe time to try something else.
I want to tell you just some of the mistakes that I hear clients tell me
about, that they look back with regret on, later on. One of them is taking
a public poll about what they should do, asking many for their opinion
about what they should do rather than a select few. That’s something that I
hear a lot. Another is trying to get people on your side so you can feel
better about your decisions. Another is oversharing, airing dirty laundry,
telling too much of the details to people who have not earned the right to
hear the details. Obsessively tracking his behaviors, thinking it’s really
useful, but actually ends up being to your own detriment. It’s kind of
crazy making. Overtaxing relationships by needing to talk about it all the
time with your friends.
So, basically, it looks like you have these relationships and it’s all you
can bring to the table. All you can talk about and really not giving space
to the other person. Reacting to words of others, particularly our spouses.
No pause between the things that they say or text and our response. Or no
pause between the thought that we have and the reaction, which is sending
something out, saying something. Another mistake is retreating, avoiding or
punishing our spouse. This is very different than taking space for
ourselves to feel and to heal. This is more self-indulgent than
self-healing. This looks like putting up walls and barriers, not leaning
in, not seeking to understand.
Now, I’m sure there are many more, but these are some of the common ones
that I see. My friends, I’ve made them all. When I was going through
divorce, when I was going through my own trial of making the decision and
ultimately deciding to end it, I can read that list and see where, check,
check, check, check. At different times, I did all of those things. And you
know what? I learned a lot. I learned this is not who I want to be, this is
not how I want to show up, and then did some course correcting. It’s okay
for you to do the same. Are any of those your pet mistakes that are easy
for you to fall into? Why might that be? Why might it feel comforting to
you? Can you hold some compassion for yourself? Why might you go back to
that behavior? What are you making it mean about you?
So, let me ask you this. Is the pet mistake that you’re making working for
you? Is it getting you what you want? So, back to the example from earlier
in the episode about the person trying to give the benefit of the doubt to
their spouse, but not really showing up fully. Real intimacy comes from
honesty. It’s sometimes painful. Sometimes brutally painful to be honest,
because it can be hard to say, and it can be even harder to hear. But if we
are not willing to show up with that kind of power and authority,
advocating for ourselves and what we want, we will water down the results.
We simply will not get what we want because we are not being bold enough to
speak what we want, ask for more, and find out what we need to find out to
make educated decisions about how to proceed. We are sabotaging our own
healing by trying to protect somebody else.
So, to wrap it up in summary, mistakes are not a problem. You are going to
make mistakes as you navigate this. Of course you are. Of course, you’re
going to make mistakes, you’ve never done this before. Most of us are in
shock when we realize where our life is and going, how did this happen? How
did I get here? Most of us have been deeply hurt and feel highly emotional
a lot of the time. Guess what? You’re going to make mistakes. It’s okay.
It’s okay. It doesn’t make you a bad person, it makes you human. Now, just
as a wrap up, remember, you can know if you did, in fact, make a mistake if
you feel out of alignment with yourself. Your spouse may claim you made a
mistake, but the only way to really know is by checking in with yourself.
The greater goal is to learn to tolerate and hold compassion for your
mistakes. And in doing this, we will make less mistakes. It’s like magic.
The more we hold space for ourselves and stop judging ourselves, we’re not
white knuckling our way into, or out of behaviors. We’re actually making
space to learn, to really understand. And then we get to make different
choices. I hope this episode gives you some peace and hope around your own
mistakes. It’s okay to make them, it’s okay to look at them. Evaluate,
decide where you want to course correct, and move forward. If there are
things that you need to maybe apologize for, go for it. If there are
mistakes that you’re making in how you treat yourself, I invite you to
course correct. Notice where these mistakes are taking you.
If you’re beating yourself up, if you’re blaming yourself, notice if this
ever has an upside to it. If it ever helps you grow or helps you be
inspired to do better, my guess is it doesn’t. We all are going to make
mistakes for the rest of our life. Welcome to the human race, my friends.
You’re in good company. I hope that you can go away from this episode,
understanding a little bit more about mistakes, understanding that because
somebody else says that you made a mistake doesn’t necessarily mean you
did. And with greater courage to look at your own behaviors and see if
they’re working for you, if they’re in alignment or out of alignment and
have the courage to course correct, if need be.
All right. So much love for all of you. Thank you so much for being here
and I’ll see you next time. Bye.
Thank you for listening to the Heal from Infidelity podcast. If you would
like to be kept in the know about upcoming free classes, new podcast
episodes, and other ways of working with me, go subscribe to my weekly
email. You can subscribe at andreagiles.com/lies-about-infidelity/. Again,
it’s andreagiles.com/lies-about-infidelity/. I will see you next time.