Do you wonder about the intensity in the last few weeks? Have your own moods or energies gone up and down? How do we accentuate the positive in our lives in turbulent times like these?
In addition to those concerns, I see the challenges in very specific examples in people’s lives. It shows up as negative self talk, unpleasant outbursts and not knowing why one did it.
Recently, a friend shared how she tends to notice her mistakes and make a bigger deal out of them than her successes. She like many people have a habit on focusing on what they consider mistakes and then beat themselves up with that.
How about an alternative approach? In my book Unfolding the Mystery of Self, I suggest that there are no mistakes. Everything that happens gives information.
For example, if a woman snaps at her husband and hurts his feelings, it suggests that she is unhappy and hasn’t completely addressed it or healed it. If a person ignores a work obligation, it may mean that the person is unhappy with something at work and hasn’t yet dealt with it, so it comes out as passive aggression.
What we consider mistakes always are experiences that offer an opportunity for growth. Neglecting an important activity may mean I’m ready for a change or am avoiding it for a good reason. What if tardiness is a clue that a person fears change or too tired to go but didn’t figure that out so went anyway late?
Most importantly, difficult situations provide the opportunity to uncover the reason and consider what we want to do about it. Unhappiness always motivates me to do something different.
To illustrate my point that we can utilize our challenges to give us valuable information, when a small meditation group, I was co-leading became stagnant I noticed my interest waned before I realized it was nearing its natural end. Letting it go was timely. My waning interest and behavior wasn’t a mistake it was a clue.
What if yelling at someone is a clue that your needs aren’t being met? That is, if you take care of yourself, giving yourself whatever it is that you need, sleep, counseling, nutrition, attention, or education and the yelling may naturally change to talking without yelling.
I’m not saying it is ok to yell at people but that it happens for a reason. Then if we use the behavior as a signal showing us there is an unmet need. If we take actions steps to know what underlies the unhappiness, we can consider our options and make a change.
In addition to knowing acting out is a clue, notice your self-talk. Do you say to yourself, “good job getting that done on time” or are you more likely to say, “I barely got that done on time, I always wait until the last minute?”
Self-talk tells us a lot about ourselves and generally it shows we are our own worst critic. Notice and even write into your journal the things you notice you say to yourself in your head. Make yourself more conscious of what you are thinking. Watch for, “that was stupid” or “I can’t believe you did that”. Notice how much kinder you are with what you say out loud to others. Generally, we are much kinder and more forgiving when another person makes what they consider a mistake. We deserve that same kindness and forgiveness.
You may have seen the picture at the top of the pageb before after I posted it in social media. In order to practice kindness to yourself, you can keep a version of the graphic for yourself maybe as a screen saver, or you can write it as a note in your day timer, or as a download. Believing I’m not enough or believing any negative version of the “enoughs” causes continued pain. Take action and move towards healing with the “I am enough” focus.
- There are no mistakes
- Everything is an opportunity for growth
- Identify what you really need
- Give it to yourself
- Notice your self-talk
- Practice kindness in your self-talk
- Know you are enough!
For contemplation: Spend part of your meditation, maybe 10 minutes of it repeating “I Am Enough.”