Saturday, September 14, 2013

Oops!

I hate making mistakes, and for most of us, that's a typical reaction.  The other day, I made one that in the long term isn't a big deal, but it left me feeling icky.  I am , after all, my own worst critic.  The trouble is I tend to be very slow to forgive myself and hesitant to make future mistakes.

When I make a mistake, no matter how small, I tend to take it greatly to heart.  Probably more than I should, and I do try to by conscious of this and be reasonable in my responses.  There are times, though, that I have a difficult time letting go of my shame, disappointment, and fear of making another mistake.  At these times, I find that I have to actively and consistently reprogram my behavior form self-flagellation to  something more constructive.

First, I have to acknowledge the mistake, and next determine how much of it is my fault.  With my mistake the other day, I had assumed that I had a green light to move forward with something due to an ambiguous e-mail message.  Now, I know that I need to be more proactive in determining whether I have approval or not by asking that specific question.  I also now have a time table to work with.  Of course, the person I was seeking approval from needed to be more clear in that they needed more time to review the materials. I can't be responsible for that part of the mistake.

The next thing I need to do is to make a plan to avoid a repeat.Frequently, this is simply a matter of waiting a bit longer before I act. Sometimes it is a matter of gathering better information.  Of course, this only works for the mistakes you can foresee and plan against. Some things will pop up and need to be dealt with.  I find it's best to be realistic with myself about my chances for not making another mistake of the same time.

Then I can work to remove the negative energy from myself over this. I can "cut the cords" that tie me to the situation, remove stains from my energy field, or try to mentally throw the situation away.  There are lots of little techniques for this, so use whatever energy makes best sense to you and fits the situation. It's important to not let some negative energies fester as they can cloud our judgement and continue to influence our behavior long past when they should have dissipated.

After all that, I tend need to find something completely unrelated to do.  Watching something funny, listening to music I love, even doing the dishes can be good distractions that allow me to rearrange my mind and attitude so that I can hang on to the lesson I've learned, but not the bitterness, sadness or fear.

Self forgiveness is sort of a "lather, rinse, repeat" exercise, as some mistakes will take longer to work through than others.  We can use mistakes to make ourselves better people, but some of us have to be very careful not to let making mistakes turn into opportunities to tear ourselves down.  

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