Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Mistakes and Beating Yourself Up

We had a small crisis the other day in my house.

After writing on an English assignment for 17 pages, my daughter realized she had misunderstood the directions, had been writing the wrong thing, and was going to need to start over. Understandably, she was upset. But as I tucked her in bed that night, she wasn't as upset that she was going to need to start over but that she had messed up again.

"Why am I always screwing up??" Her frustration and self-incrimination were palpable.

So we talked a bit about mistakes and how everyone makes them.  But that they're just mistakes -- that you own them, you do what you have to do to fix them, you learn from them, and then you move on.

I was always a perfectionist dieter-- which is not a great thing to be if you're the kind of person who occasionally caves in to her cookie cravings.  When I inevitably succumbed, I would do the same thing that my daughter was doing. I'd beat myself up for the mistake and tell myself that I was never going to be able to do it.  And who can succeed with such negative self-talk?

But what made the difference for me was that when I returned to losing weight last year, I promised myself that I wasn't going to do that.  Not that I wasn't ever going to cave to cravings, but that I wasn't going to beat myself up. I wasn't going to put myself down. I was going to forgive myself. I was going to extend grace to myself.  And if you ask me what my real secret to success has been?  That's it.

Forgive yourself.

I got to put that into practice last night. It was my first day filling a role at work that I've never filled before -- and I messed up.  It wasn't an end of the world thing. It was fixable... but required 20 extra minutes plus the help of two other employees.  And honestly, I really didn't want to mess up on my first day!!

But you own what you did.
And you do what you need to do to fix it.
You learn from it so you don't do it again next time.

And you forgive yourself.

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