The power that mistakes have

The power that mistakes have
July 29, 2019 Dance Central
“She could never go back and make the details pretty. All she could do was move forward and make the whole beautiful.” — Terri St Cloud

Very recently, I pranged my car. If that wasn’t bad enough, it was a result of my bad estimation AND it happened barely a week after we got our other car back from the workshop because I had pranged that one as well. And for at least three days after, I was badly shaken up. I didn’t trust myself behind the wheel, I kept expecting something else to happen, I hated driving, and I was so jumpy I think I was even more at risk of getting into an accident than ever. (I drove like a sweet little old lady. I now have great affection for those among us who conscientiously drive 5-10ks under the speed limit.)

Most of all, I was deeply unhappy with myself. My self-esteem really took a hit and even as I observed my own emotions in the midst of those blues, I couldn’t get over how difficult it was to stop yelling at myself.

We all fall off the wagon. We all invariably let ourselves down at some point. Maybe we blew our diet big time. Maybe we blew our budget. Maybe we drank when we said we wouldn’t, bought a gym membership we never used, or chose the wrong career. Maybe we broke a precious relationship. And when we blow it very publicly, it’s harder still to claw our way out. Not when we have an audience to remember when we’d rather forget.

I think we secretly know that there’s a difference between owning up to a mistake and getting owned by it. And while it’s healthy and wise to evaluate our mistake and resolve to do better, obsessing over the stuff-up produces more good than bad. Ruminating — or self-recrimination — is “agonising self-criticism on repeat“. It’s also terrible for our problem-solving skills and decreases our drive to do better. And women are particularly good at ruminating.

“It is impossible to live without failing at something,” mused JK Rowling once, “unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not live at all, in which case you would have failed by default.”

May you move ever forward this week as you paint your bigger picture beautiful.


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