by Noella Noelophile™
“What were the mistakes you made, a month ago? Do you remember them?”
That’s a dialogue my husband and I had, just recently–and he’s right. (Don’t tell him I said that!–Just kidding.)
So, why are we so tough on ourselves when we do make mistakes? Intellectually, we know they happen to everybody. Yet, when we realize we’ve made one–large or small–we get that sick feeling in the pit of our stomachs!
To be honest, even writing this post’s title, gave me that feeling! We all hate to mess up, and even imagining that circumstance isn’t pleasant.
What’s amazing is the terrible things we say to ourselves, when we’re wrong. In a recent class, the teacher accidentally deleted a file she’d wanted to assign. This is a very capable, compassionate instructor who’s also a professional in her field. Her response to her mistake?
“Ohhh, I am so stupid!” (No, she’s not–in the least–and she would never apply that term to any of her students who made a similar error!)
If anyone said the things to me, that I say to myself when I make a mistake, we would probably no longer be on speaking terms! In fact, most of us would probably never say these things to a stranger on the street.
Recently, I had a day off, and took a bus to a favorite day-tripping spot.
But–the bus line was running service announcements, instead of the usual bus numbers across the bus’s front. So, I boarded the wrong line–and finally realized it an hour later, when familiar landmarks hadn’t shown up. Getting to my regular stomping grounds took three buses and a great deal of mental abuse.
“What a dunce, now I’ve missed out on the whole morning, why weren’t you paying closer attention, you ninny? Doesn’t any idiot realize it doesn’t take that long to get to the main highway? You are such a hopeless, clueless fool!”…etc., etc., etc.
What’s interesting is, had anyone else done all that namecalling, I would have known they were wrong. Coming from myself, I believed it!
And, as my husband pointed out, no harm was really done. Sure, getting to my day-off spot took longer–and was less scenic than usual. And there was less free time to spend there. But, no one was injured, all that was lost was a little time, and it was a learning experience. (Guess I’ll just have to take another trip, and remember to check the buses next time!)
How about you? How are you at forgiving yourself, when you do something less-than-perfectly? What do you do to remind yourself that you, like everyone around you (with whom you’re probably far more lenient) are human, and it’s OK not to get everything right?