Want to hear a secret? It’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to fail. It’s okay to be human.
We mess up and we over analyze that mistake for hours, and the anxiety can be debilitating. For me personally, making mistakes and dealing with those mistakes, has been incredibly hard for me my entire life. I have always chased perfection, so the idea of making a mistake was truly debilitating. When we lack self-compassion, it is so much easier to be hard on ourselves.
When I had no compassion for myself I would spiral into self-hate and it brought me to a point where not accomplishing my goals meant that I could barely look at myself in the mirror. I was that kid that could barely be comforted if I made a mistake on a test and got anything less than an A. But by learning what self-compassion looked like, I finally was able to be a little less hard on myself and laugh at my shortcomings and mistakes.
I was speaking to some students about loving myself as I am in this moment, despite all my flaws. A few moments later, I knocked over my steel water bottle that was not fully closed and water exploded everywhere. Usually, that experience would have thrown me off and I would have been not only embarrassed, but so frustrated with myself for not showing up as perfect. But who I am to pretend to be perfect as I talk to high school students about authenticity and embracing our flaws? So instead of getting frustrated, I just laughed, and made a joke about how learning to accept myself and my flaws was exactly that – knocking over a water bottle, making a fool of myself and being proud of myself that I could just laugh. And you know what? Having self-compassion in that moment reminded me that I was only human. And doing so not only helped me get through the speech, but it also made the students laugh and understand vulnerability on a practical level.
Self-compassion means sitting with yourself, acknowledging how you feel, truly letting yourself feel it, and then saying to yourself what you would say to a best friend, reminding yourself that it is okay to feel this way, you are not alone, and most importantly that there is growth in this mistake.
Self-compassion is being your own best friend. Taking some of the advice you give to others for yourself. Giving some of the love you so easily give to others, to yourself.
It is okay to mess up. Although too often desired, it is unrealistic to never mess up. If you can acknowledge that you will make mistakes, and you can allow yourself to feel the frustration, sadness or disappointment, you can allow yourself to have self-compassion set in sooner.
Allow yourself to yell, scream and cry, and then allow yourself to recognize you are only human, surrounded by thousands and millions of other people who are making mistakes too, and then give yourself permission to forgive yourself. Give yourself a hug, remember there is growth on the other side.
That mistake you made, can be hard to deal with. I know because I struggle with this myself, but you are not alone in this journey. We are all figuring it out together, striving each day to be as compassionate to ourselves as we are to those around us.
We deserve that compassion for ourselves too.