how to live with mistakes

I have learned to like my mistakes. Definitely not in the moment, but in retrospect things were never as bad as I thought they were. And believe me, things were {felt} really awful at the time. We all feel it don’t we? That our mistakes somehow define us and that it is impossible to see ourselves in a positive light again? It can feel so limiting {and even hopeless}. But the truth is, as women, our ability to deal with mistakes is tied rather tightly with the idea that we have to be perfect.

Striving for perfection is crippling and can paralyze you. But progress, now that’s totally doable. If our lives were composed of one perfect moment after another, we would be robbed of the feeling of true success, the bliss of finding real love and the beauty of a rainbow. Things would be truly blah. My mistakes have made it possible to be grateful for all the wonder and joy in my life. My mistakes have helped me reach higher and push harder for what I want. And to do this. To be okay with your mistakes. You need to know a few things…

{an abbreviated excerpt from The Beauty of Getting it Wrong by Bonnie Tsui for O Magazine, January 2014}

Our minds are highly attuned to focus on what we’ve done wrong, not what we’ve done right. With regard to mistakes most of us fall into one 1 or 2 categories; the fixed mindset or the growth mindset. The fixed mindset tries to shut out the mistake all together and not acknowledge it. This is unfortunate, because according to recent research, acknowledging our slipups is critical to recovering from them. The growth mindset, identifies what went wrong and then adapts accordingly – it’s easier for these people to get back on their feet. The key: self-compassion. “Several studies show that when we practice a new way of approaching failure, it can change an error from something we fear into something we embrace,” says Kristin Neff, PhD, associate professor of human development and culture at the University of Texas at Austin. “The hardest part is giving yourself permission to relate to the mistake differently.”

“We found that people who were taught to be kind to themselves felt more motivated to see their mistakes as a chance for growth,” says lead researcher Juliana Breines, PhD. “Outside validation didn’t seem to matter as much.”

Talk to yourself from the perspective of a caring, problem solving friend. No excoriation necessary.

{for the entire article, click HERE}

So there you have it, another invitation to shift your perspective on things. I know it’s not an easy feat, but if you begin to apply self-compassion to your little mistakes, you will find your ability to deal with big mistakes has dramatically improved. By then you’ll be okay with not being perfect and maybe even a little thrilled by your progress.

am.xo

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