What have your bad decisions taught you?

June 11, 2015

poor decisionsBad decisions are the purview of the young. Oh, we older folk aren’t immune to them, but for the most part, making bad decisions belong to the era when our standards were lower and our bodies looked like this.

At the time we made them, we didn’t think they were bad decisions, right? We either thought a decision was the best one at the time (and maybe it was) or we didn’t think at all (which is more likely, because young people don’t always think before leaping into the great unknown.)

But is a decision that doesn’t work out always bad?  Not always.
Oh, sure, a seriously bad decision would be to shoot heroin or leave your children unsupervised.  Domestic violence is always a bad decision and of course, so is killing.

But some of the other decisions that don’t turn out so well–relationships, jobs, friends–as long as no one is hurt, does it really matter if things don’t work out?

As a young, romantic teenager I had no idea that I’d marry four times and twice to the same man. When I think about my own decisions about those relationships, I see how much each one taught me.

My first marriage to M. got me out from under my parents’ roof and to another state. It taught me about fun and independence. The price was I had to let it go, even though I thought it should have worked out.

My second marriage was clearly rebound, but he presented himself as a knight in white shining armor and helped me heal. I will always be grateful.

My third marriage was spiritual and paternal. Some 13 years older than I, he was my teacher in ways I only realized after the fact.

Remember-that-not-getting-what-you-want-is-sometimes-a-wonderful-stroke-of-luck.DALAI-LAMA-QUOTES-500x500My surprise remarriage to M 27 years after our divorce has been such a miracle and blessing that I still marvel at it. We reconnected so easily and still had so much in common that we were able to pick right up where we left off, but in an improved version.

Most of my jobs began with high hopes and if, in the end, most of them disappointed me, it was usually years later and a signal that it was time to move on.

Friendships and family relationships have been beautiful to behold at times and other times, clearly a learning experience.

I embrace all the poor decisions I’ve made in my life as learning experiences.  None of them have been ill-intentioned or damaging (unless you count hurt feelings).

If you’re young (or any age, really) and concerned about decisions you’ve made, just wait it out. You’ll learn from what’s happened and move on to something better. So embrace those bad decisions.

Here’s why:
your pathSo, what have your bad decisions taught you?

25 comments on “What have your bad decisions taught you?
  1. Carla says:

    So much. I’m really try to live the notion of: you win some you learn some 🙂 and not think of them as bad decisions. But it can be hard…

    • I always feel past mistakes teach what not to do or what to look for next time. Mistakes make you grow and become stronger. So I’ve never regretted anything.
      By the way Carol, love that you married your husband again. Great story!

  2. Oh yes. I’ve made some bad decisions along the way. When I look back and think about some of them now, I shake my head in disappointment and disbelief. What the heck was I thinking? At the time they seemed right, but wow how they weren’t. Still, they were are all as you say here – a learning and growing experience. I benefited from each and every mistake made along the way – just not in the way I originally thought I would. 🙂

  3. If we didn’t make mistakes we would know when we finally get it right!

  4. Carol: You are a rock star! I love how insightful you are about life and relationships. Funny, poignant, spiritual, nuanced, wacky, wise. Thanks for sharing your gifts!

  5. Kimberly says:

    My bad decisions have been the greatest teacher in my life. And when I actually *get* the lesson, the change is always in a healthier direction. Thanks for sharing Carol.

  6. shanita says:

    Loved this. I think the hardest part is waiting it out…it takes some time to get to the glory in the story.

  7. Jennifer says:

    I’ve made some doozies! But I wouldn’t be where I am without them…so in retrospect, I need to be “somewhat” thankful for making them.

  8. Some of my MOST serious decisions are ones I’ve made in the last year. The jury is still out as to if I regret them? Will I learn form them? Did I make a mistake? Where they the best ones? I’ll let you know….

  9. pia says:

    It’s not the bad decisions I mull over. They all turned out to be either great or have taught me much.

    It’s the long curvy road with all the forks not taken that I mull over.

    I probably have been given more opportunties by more incredible people than anybody in history, but I haven’t taken advantage of all of them or most.

    I couldn’t. Too overwhelming. So I forgive myself but wonder what could have been. Then I still believe in tomorrow so I stop wondering.

  10. Barbara says:

    On quick reflection, I made some of mine out of neediness. Lesson that took me a long time to learn is only I can fix myself.

  11. My decisions have taught me to always stop and ask myself what I’m doing, and why, and if this is really the way to get there, or just close enough.

  12. It took me a while to learn from some of my biggest mistakes because I kept making them over and over again. I am so grateful I finally ‘got it.’
    I am a firm believer in everything happens for a reason and it happens exactly when it is supposed to happen.
    The biggest lesson I have learned from my mistakes is to stop and think everything through before making a decision, even the small ones.

  13. Isn’t it funny how things work out for the best in the end? Thank you for linking up with Thursday favorite Things and I hope you have a glorious day!

  14. Ruth Curran says:

    My bad decisions shine the spotlight on the fact that I am so perfectly imperfect and that is what makes me me. You are right, as we age we just don’t dwell on the uncomfortable parts of the poor part of the decision — we look for the gifts or the humor or the incredible blog posts that come from each and everyone.

  15. Mistakes, miscalculations, and misunderstandings are how we learn what does not work, and that is very valuable information.

  16. My bad decisions usually confirm that I need to listen to my gut feeling. When I go against it, things usually go wrong in ways large or small.

  17. Liz Mays says:

    I’ve definitely learned through bad decisions, but I don’t really think of them as bad decisions. They were just steps along the way to where I was supposed to be. Without everything I’ve done, I wouldn’t be the person I am now.

  18. Thank you for sharing your story with the universe. I agree with you 100% in that we must learn and appreciate from our decisions. Our decisions are just part of the path and learning from them is just part of maturing. Again, thank you for sharing your story with us.

  19. Anita Irlen says:

    Sometimes I think I’m the queen of bad decisions and I’m not self-deprecating here! Shit, I wish I wouldn’t have made them, but I have to admit that they have made me what I am, both the bad and the good. And I’ve learned, boy have I learned. I always chafe at the saying “things happen for a reason” but who knows? Your posts are good for me. Thanks


  20. The best thing about being a blogger is that bad decisions always turn into good blog posts 🙂

  21. Sandy says:

    Lots of my mistakes were made in my younger years. I’ve learned a lot from them. Just happy to be out of that phase of my life and older now..LOL!

  22. Estelle says:

    In the past I made mistakes in trusting people before I really knew them. I don’t make that mistake anymore, even though in a weird way I have more trust in the universe than ever before.

  23. Debbie D. says:

    That’s such a wonderful love story, between you and M, Carol. Sounds like you are true soulmates. 🙂 You’re so right about mistakes and bad decisions being learning experiences. In the end, they will hopefully make us wiser and stronger. My husband and I were a couple of spendthrifts in our younger days, using credit cards liberally. This led to devastating financial issues when we both lost our jobs in the same year. It was a hard lesson and the recovery was long, but we survived and thrived.

  24. Diane says:

    Oh, so true! Every experience gives us . . . experience! The people who can recognize that are happy indeed!

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