“We must expect to be making mistakes all the time. We must be content to fail repeatedly and to begin again to try to deny ourselves for the love of God…
We want to shake off the hateful thing that has humbled us. In our rush to escape the humiliation of our mistakes, we run headfirst into the opposite error, seeking comfort and compensation.
And so we spend our lives running back and forth from one attachment to another.
If that is all our self-denial amounts to, our mistakes will never help us.
The thing you do, when you have made a mistake, is not to give up doing what you were doing and start something altogether new, but to start over again with the thing you began badly and try, for the love of God, to do it well.
(Merton, Journals, Oct 7, 1949, II.372)
Actually, I make mistakes all the time, and I tend to do exactly what Thomas Merton says I shouldn't. I avoid the mistake and either seek comfort instead in people who tell me it wasn't really a mistake, or I go do something I'm good at so that I can feel good about myself.
Resolved: After doing something badly, I will do it again and try, for the love of God, to do it well.