One of the things I try to create is safety to mess up. Often when I am working on a painting, I make a mark that might seem right at the time, but later proves wrong. It doesn’t sit right with the whole and needs to be revised or totally scrubbed out. If I gave myself a hard time every time I did this, questioning my skill or berating myself for ineptitude or foolishness, I would probably stop painting altogether, filled with self-loathing and shame.
I also try to create safety for mistakes in my relationships, especially with my children. The stakes are higher than with a painting.
The other day as I talked with my son I saw wretched pain in his eyes. We were discussing a recent incident in which he was humiliated and shamed by a group of adults for something he had done. I felt aching compassion for him and a rising outrage that he had been so crushed when he already felt remorse for his action. We both wished we could take a rag and wipe away the past, like paint from my canvas. I wished the adults involved could see my son as a precious work in progress worthy of careful crafting. All I could do was empathise and reassure him of my total acceptance.
We all mess up. Beauty lies in the the sacred courage that is required of use to graciously learn and try again. Beautiful, trusting love relies on us creating safety for mistakes.