Instead of hiding behind perfection, what if we found joy in our mistakes?
The other day I came across an Instagram post from my friend and colleague Danielle. It was a photo of a review of Danielle’s recent photography exhibit. The review was positive, but also critical. That’s why Danielle posted it. She was proud of her work, no matter what her critics thought.
I was stunned by the post – it was one of the most honest things I’ve ever seen on social media! Usually when I scroll through Facebook or Instagram, all I see is perfect. Perfect vacations, perfect babies, perfect birthday cakes, perfect manicures, perfectly manicured lawns…
I’m guilty of it too. I only post photos of happy stuff. If someone saw my Instagram, they’d probably think, “Wow, this girl doesn’t have a care in the world…and also she must really, really love ice cream.”
Danielle’s post didn’t show a perfect world. And yet that didn’t make me think less of her. Quite the opposite – I respected her even more as an artist. That got me thinking. Maybe social media could be more meaningful if we showed off our mistakes, our critiques, our struggles. And not a world where everything’s perfect, ice cream never melts and the lighting’s always just right.
I’m going to try it out. Starting with this blog post, which I’ll share on social media. I’ve included a photo here of one of my biggest failures as a writer. It’s a story I worked on for Guideposts magazine. See all those cross-outs and rewrites? That’s just the first of five pages of edit after edit from Guideposts editor-in-chief Edward Grinnan.
I remember the dreadful day it happened like it was yesterday. I’d been at Guideposts almost a year. I thought I was finally starting to get the hang of things. Then those edits arrived in Edward’s signature brown ink. And I realized I was sadly mistaken.
I admit, I shed some tears over it. I’m sure I considered giving up writing for a career where brown ink would never haunt me again.
Eventually, though, I faced the music. I talked to Edward and asked him to explain the edits in detail so I could do better next time. The whole situation was rough, humbling. But, looking back now, it was a great learning experience. In fact, I keep a photocopy of that story – ugly edits and all – at my desk so I don’t forget it.
What about you? Got a good mistake? Share it below or with us on Facebook!