Why are we always trying to be perfect. Even when we are doing well, we think we must do better. Always focusing on the next challenge or goal. And then sometimes we make a mistake. We say the wrong thing, calculate the wrong numbers or miss a deadline, and that’s it, the whole day is written off. It feels like 2 steps forward an 20 steps back. It reminds me of the story of Sisyphus whose punishment for deceiving and betraying Zeus was to roll a huge boulder up a steep hill. Before he could reach the top, however, the massive stone would always roll back down, forcing him to begin again.
We don’t look how far we have come, or reflect on what we learned on the journey, but criticise ourselves for the mistake made in stopping us from getting to our destination.
Making mistakes can make us feel stressed, guilty, and like a failure. The feeling is intense and often felt in the pit of our stomachs. Our head becomes tense, our shoulders become knots, and we carry the tightened stomach, trying to stop those butterflies from tickling you.
Now you can take 2 approaches when you are in this place. You can be like Sisyphus, and eternally roll back to the start and keep pushing. You can continue to feel angry with yourself and the world for all of the factors that pushed you back. Often we blame others, or events for our fail, rather than taking accountability. This can result in bitterness and resentment. We can become the Martyr or victim, where we believe nothing goes right for us, but you keep moving because you have too.
This behaviour is all EGO based behaviour. The ego has been hurt, and then you keep beating yourself up for it too. You concentrate on what others might think, what they might say, or how it will impact your career. Ego, Ego, Ego.
Now the second approach is a much kinder approach, it is based on forgiveness, love and compassion. When the rock rolls down the hill, you can choose to get angry, or you can choose to reflect.
Reflection is critical to learning. Rather than focusing on the outside world, take a look inside your internal world. Why did you make a mistake or move backwards? What happened? How did you feel? What are you now aware of? What would you do differently next time?
Did you do it on purpose? Did you mean to make a mistake? Did you mean to fail? I am pretty sure you didn’t. So forgive yourself.
To err is human, to forgive, Divine
Now think about what you have learned. Failure always teaches us something if we are prepared to reflect. This new knowledge is something to celebrate.
Now you have learned something , maybe you can understand that you haven’t really taken a step back. You have actually taken a step forward.
Don’t beat yourself up, free yourself of the heavy rock you take with you where ever you go. Learn from your mistakes, embrace the failure and be kind to yourself.
Life is a journey, not a destination