It’s no coincidence that many people who do find true love will admit that they hit “rock bottom” or something close to it before changing their approach.

Maybe they even call it the “mistake of their life”, something that was so difficult and probably traumatic, that it changed their entire thought process. The event changed their way of dealing with people. Maybe it even shifted their values just a little bit.

What explains this phenomenon?

Learning About Yourself

Why is it that sometimes we have to make a big mistake BEFORE we’re “allowed” to discover the heavenly bliss of true love?

Well before we get into the scientific discussion, let’s go back to the beginning of our own memories. When you’re young, you feel very idealistic. You’re focused. Enthusiastic. You know what you want and you go out there and get it.

First off, we see why it’s so easy to make a BIG mistake at this point in your life. You’re still learning. You’re broadening your horizons. You might be questioning things you’ve always believed or that your parents believed.

Even more difficult, is the fact that many young idealists only see “the man of their dreams”, a paragon of everything masculine, attractive, and ethical.

It’s inevitable that going into dating without much experience, and seeing things from an idealistic perspective, can lead to disappointment. Soon enough, you meet new people. You have your views on life challenged. Some people disappoint you. Others use you or take advantage of you.

The idealistic “You” might not be expecting all this complication. So yes, it’s safe to say most of us will be disappointed at some point in our life if we jump into a situation with an unguarded heart – and we get hurt.

So you could say that complication helps to DEFINE you. What you really believe. Our difficulty in life, and yes even in dating, helps us to determine what we really want, believe, and need to be happy.

The First (or Second or Third) Mistake

Just don’t be too hard on yourself. Everyone makes mistakes. It’s actually kind of difficult for a young person NOT to take risks, go after new adventure, and take a chance. It’s the best time in your life to be an adventurer!

The only thing that determines a little mistake from a big mistake is how extreme the consequences are. But everyone makes mistakes. No one can be shielded from mistakes or from challenging life experiences.

The question is: do you run from it or learn from it?

Some people go through life running away, rather than learning from their mistakes and growing because of it.

It’s no surprise then that they usually jump into a nearly identical relationship after leaving the toxic one. They run away from the pain (finally) but they never actually examine the source of their pain, and analyze how they always end up in this place.

Someone who refuses to do this soul-searching is refusing to grow. They’re ignoring the patterns. You might even say, to use an old adage, they’re not “learning from history and so are doomed to repeat it.”

The best way to avoid making the same mistake over and over again is to “embrace this mistake”, rather than running away from it or pretending that it never happened. Or blaming your Evil Ex for everything that happened.

Embracing your mistake means you accept that you made it, you took the time to learn why it happened, and now that you see the consequences, you’ve learned how to avoid making that same mistake twice.

Mistakes Alter Our Thought Processes

You could also say that once you make a big mistake and experience grief because of it, you alter your thought processes. When we go through life on “auto pilot” we tend to resist doing anything differently.

We avoid change. We do the same routines and patterns that make us feel comfortable…and we perpetually build the current world as we want it.

People will usually not alter their thought processes or question their daily habits, UNLESS it starts to cause discomfort. The pain, the avoidance of discomfort, can motivate us to make major changes. Even trauma, as horrible as it is, can go a long way in teaching us self-preservation – avoiding the things that hurt us.

When you make that BIG mistake, that forces you to confront the thought processes and attitudes and even habits that have led to this pain.

That shocks you into making major changes. Changes in your habits. In your attitudes. And most of all, your thoughts, which is where it all begins.

Heartbreak Opens Your Eyes

Once you make that big mistake and feel so cheated and so robbed of happiness, two things can happen. You can become a slave to that pain, or you can open your eyes and realize that this is NOT who you want to be anymore. You deserve better than this.

And starting now, this moment, you are going to reinvent yourself.

From now on, you’re going to define the relationship you want and stop the toxic patterns of the past that ALLOWED these bad relationships to form.

And when you do finally find the man of your dreams – not the paragon, but your true love, you start to see why those past relationships never worked out. You grow as a person and can see everything in hindsight.

Now that you make mistakes and experienced pain, you can appreciate what you have now. What you have found. And yes, even the “journey” that brought you here.

You realize that your life is not just a series of mistakes and miseries, but that you’ve been learning valuable lessons all along. In that way, you can say that you don’t regret the past. Because the past taught you. Accepting the past turned you into the happy and productive person you choose to be today, not the unhappy person you were years ago.

For that reason, we can be grateful for our one big mistake.

 

    20 replies to "Sometimes the Love of Your Life Comes After the Mistake of Your Life"

    • Kim Nguyen

      Thank you for your good advices.

    • Natacha Jean-Pierre

      Facts.Thank for your blessings

    • Karen

      This is so true. I recall all the idealistic ideas I had when younger and the bad experiences I had. When I had what I thought I wanted didn’t fit my mould it fell apart. The other thing is that I realised that I was also trying to be what others wanted instead of being the best version of me!
      All I can say is that I have learnt so much over the years and, I realised, that if I didn’t change as I learned I got the same result. I’m still learning but, what is refreshing, is that I’m still learning, albeit from new mistakes, but feel so much better about myself and appreciate that people will be what you let them, I just stick to my standards of how I want to be treated and what I will accept but you also need to appreciate others opinions, thoughts and wants too.

    • Linda

      One big mistake thinking a cheater was all I deserved. Thinking he would charge and become the man I wanted him to be. Did not happen. Finally done and moving on to find what I DO deserve

    • Linda

      Cheaters don’t change. No matter what you do or how hard you try to make them

    • Bridget Long

      In other words, we may have to kiss a few toads to get our Prince Charming. .

    • Venessa

      I am on this very journey of healing and recovery as you write this. I just ended a horrific relationship that I still cannot comprehend and have come to the understanding that maybe the reasons are not mine to know and that it wasn’t really about me at all. Rather my partner had no idea of what to do with a genuine woman. I so appreciate this writing as encouragement to keep going and eliminating old beliefs and value systems that no longer serve me. It was inspirational and falls right in line with all I am learning and trying to change within myself. Thank you with full gratitude.

      • Laurie Wetzel

        Vanessa, thank -you for showing me that I am not the only woman married to a man who finally admits that he doesn’t know what to do intimately with a woman. Married 26 years to this man. Was my best friend but I need a man that is capable of a balanced, intimate relationship. I suffered self-esteem issues and felt rejected. I am working on a solution to be able to walk away. Thank-you again.

    • A

      The best definition of making mistakes in the past ever! It’s full of wisdom. Very down to earth, too.

    • RUTH ANN LAVOIE

      WOW MATTHEW I WISH I HAD THIS INFORMATION A LONG TIME AGO! WHAT YOU’VE WRITTEN IN THIS ARTICLE HELPED IMMENSELY! IT OPENED MY MY MIND WHICH CAN BE A SCARY PLACE TO ENTER INTO BUT I KNOW IT IS NECESSARY! I WILL SAVE THIS ARTICLE TO REFER TO WHEN I NEED TO BE REMINDED! NO MORE BEATING MYSELF UP OR REPEATING MISTAKES THANKS TO YOU! THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

    • Julia melinda Padilla

      thank you very much.

    • Mona

      Well said!! Elementary, my dear Watson 🙂

    • Amy Spain

      I Love this article so much. It teaches you that the obstacles we have in life are not even that but rather lessons to be learned that guide us to true happiness and ultimately, love. Not just live in finding a partner, but loving yourself along the way. Thank you Matthew!

    • Sandy

      This was very insightful and helpful for me. I hurt like hell right now but after reading this I feel like I’m not going to break in half. I’m going to be just fine. Thank you for your help God bless you

      • Windy

        Hang in there. Do like I did. Write down what it was you didn’t like about your ex. Then write down what qualities you would like in your ideal mate. Don’t settle for anything less! Stop looking for someone. I know it sounds cliché, but the right person comes along most of the time when you’re not looking. Concentrate on yourself, have fun and the rest will follow. ☺

    • Lisa marie

      Matthew you are amazing and very insightful hearing it come from a guy makes it hit home a lot more

      I too repeated patterns for many years but then I knew I had to look in the mirror at myself

      While this wasn’t easy to do it helped me tremendously and now I have found real love
      And when I feel the old habits creeping up
      I’m able I think twice before I speak

      thank you thank you thank you

    • Carol miller

      Good advice l made 3, but 3s a charm so mb 4 will be the one…but he’s a Sag .lol

    • Heather

      I was in contact with a man I met many years ago and during lockdown we started emailing etc., the chemistry, fun, everything was all there, just that something. Alas at the end of March I fell and fractured my pelvis so was in hospital (ironically when we were the closest), when discharged I found things really tough with the pain and just coping, I suppose I became to emotional. Things cooled off, I knew they would once lockdown ended, so now we have left things and whether I’ll ever hear from him again God only knows. He made me feel beautiful, sexy and brought out the other side of Heather (I know I’m beautiful, sparkling and quite a personality etc), I do miss him but my injury showed me that he is shallow and slightly narcissistic. Close friends said to me do you want to be stroking his ego 247.

      I have turned things around now texted him and said I would let him be, he has his space to do as he pleases and be with whoever. I have made myself strong, confident and happy again, I can walk now really well and I am so glad to simply be healthy again. However, he has brought out the real Heather and therefore I thank him for that. This article confirmed what I already knew, that there is no rhyme or reason why things work out and some things don’t but if I hadn’t had the injury, I would have never seen the other side of him and I fear my heart would have been badly broken.

      If he comes back I will have to then make a hard decision but by then I’ll have no doubt what to do. Thank you Matthew.

    • Jami

      Heartbreak Opens Your Eyes

      Once you make that big mistake and feel so cheated and so robbed of happiness, two things can happen. You can become a slave to that pain, or you can open your eyes and realize that this is NOT who you want to be anymore. You deserve better than this.

      This, this right here, is what finally happened for me. I had been a slave to my pain for years and anyone that was within my vicinity was going to hurt too. I not only made my self miserable, but also everyone else around me as well. And one day, I finally told god that “I can’t do this anymore and I don’t want to be this person that I’ve become” and that I needed help. My heart and soul was so damaged that I wasn’t even sure it could be repaired. And now, I know I can recover and embrace my past and not only have I learned from it, but I can let go and start to forgive and move on. Thank you so much for the any messages you leave for us, they truly are a blessing and greatly appreciated.

    • Louise

      THANK YOU so much Matthew. This article is what I was looking for. I just end3d my 40 year abusive marriage by divorce, effective June 13th. For apx 35 years, I was abused, emotionally, verbally and physically. Also replaced by another woman. I have learned so much about myself during this process. I was at fault also. Never is only one sided. I have matured so much! Ironic at age 66, isn’t it? My TRUE love was put in my life by GOD in 2012, but we are living a ROMEO AND JULIETTE situation at the moment, literally. We will wait upon our LORD to put things in place the way they were meant to be for us. After all, it’s not the amount of time we will have together that counts but the quality of time and the deep love we have for each other. TRUE LOVE WAITS! Our love will only grow during this time of waiting. Marriage will be a priceless thing to be favoured then and cherished.

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