The Beauty in Mistakes

Instead of hiding behind perfection, what if we found joy in our mistakes?

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Posted in , Sep 6, 2016

edits

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.  

READ MORE: AN EXHAUSTED MOM STOPS TRYING TO BE PERFECT.

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!

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