The value of mistakes

Sarah writes…

When he was five, my son bounded out of school into my arms and announced ‘I made a brilliant mistake today mummy’.

He was proud of his mistake, because he understood mistakes as helping us to learn, and nothing to be ashamed of.

Imagine if you put such a spin on the mistakes that you make.  My lived experience is that not many of us do.

Many of the people I work with and know personally feel shame and/or horror when they make mistakes, judging themselves harshly, showing little self-compassion or understanding.  They imagine that the mistake will make them less likeable or fear abandonment.

I know that mistakes don’t make me like people any less; just like big achievements don’t make me like people any more.   I like people because of who they are, not what they achieve.

Mistakes are part of our learning process, one of my favourite quotes comes from Samuel Smiles, who says:

“We learn wisdom from failure much more than from success. We often discover what will do, by finding out what will not do; and probably he who never made a mistake never made a discovery.”

Imagine the difference to our lives if we saw mistakes, not as failures but as part of our learning process paving the way to success!

A warm welcome to our Wellbeing blog

The 5 Ways of Wellbeing

Have you noticed that through counselling, often self-care increases? It becomes more of a priority and motivation is found to do it.

So what might self-care of our mental health look like? Caring for our mental health can involve many different aspects. Getting enough sleep and enough nutritious food are foundational and really benefit us.

The organisation MIND highlights Five Ways to Wellbeing, originally developed by the New Economics Foundation. They are:


Be Active

Take notice



Photo by Daniel Frank

We may connect with others or with other living beings, with our natural environment. There are many ways to be active but perhaps the simplest is just to walk in our local park or to take the stairs when we could choose the lift. What gives you a lift when you take notice of it? A piece of art? A beautiful sky? A bird? Learning may be learning a new word or a new skill, something large or small, something that stimulates our curiosity.  To give may mean paid or voluntary work for someone but for another person it may be holding the door open for someone who is pushing a pram or feeding the local birds.

To read more about the 5 Ways to Wellbeing go to