It's OK to mess up, right?
Yes... It Is. So why is that so hard to believe?
Yesterday, two people that love me said the same thing in separate conversations. Stop being so hard on yourself. Now I am not so much of a perfectionist as I am a people pleaser. I absolutely hate letting people down. I hate letting myself down. I hate feeling as though I could have done more, impacted more, created more, helped more or that I didn’t do anything to my full capacity. It bothers me deeply when I feel as though I failed to live up to my intentions.
So I am in a constant state of affirmation: I did as much as I could with what I had and now I will be able to do better next time. Sounds good right? So why doesn’t it make me feel better? Because changing your mind is a lifelong process. In these heavier than normal moments, I have to be reminded that most things that feel like monumental eff ups to me—are in fact not noticeable to most people. Some people use cockiness or arrogance to deflate the occurrence of doubt, but I am not advocating self-inflation. Instead, I am saying remember these few things:
1. Your capacity to be at your best increases over time. Do you remember the first season of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air? What about The first Tyler Perry Plays? Know the back story of Steve Jobs? My point is that no matter who you are, practice makes better. If you begin to see EVERYTHING as a learning experience, you will always have room to be better tomorrow. So as long as you did the best you could in that moment, at that time, whatever was not accomplished will be—next time.
2. You are going to mess up. Anyone see the video when Beyoncé fell on stage in Orlando? What about the one from Brazil? You can do something a million times, hit the nail on the head several times in a row and still mess up once in a while. It is OK to fumble. It is ok if one thing goes wrong. Get back on track and keep it pushing. It keeps you humble.
3. There is no such thing as perfection. No matter how well planned something is or how tight the execution can be—something might go wrong. This is true for everything from presentations and interviews to event planning and date night. If you accept non-perfection as the probability then the goal becomes: do the best possible.
4. Don’t dwell. What you feed—grows. I cannot say this enough. When we dwell on the things we could have done better, we should have done better, we kill the energy necessary to actually DO better. It’s ok to acknowledge when you mess up. In fact introspection and evaluation are quality tools of self-betterment. However, when you stir in the feelings of disappointment, shame, embarrassment and any other negative emotions that arise, you drain your capacity to be better. Energy is neither created nor destroyed, which means we only transfer it from one spot in our spirit to another. If you put all your energy into examining (and re-examining) what went wrong, how on earth will you have the strength to do better in the next moment?
5. Don’t be so hard on yourself. I appreciate being lifted by people who love me. It is super important to identify those go-to folk in your life that will say: yeah, this wasn’t one of your better executions; you definitely behaved lower than your higher self; you were really out of line when you did that; BUT you got this! When you defer to the people who know you and your capacity for greatness it is a restoration of the energy you lost being so caught up in your own stuff. They have the perspective to see the broader YOU as opposed to you in any singular moment. They get to love on you in a way that reminds you that everything will be ok and that you are not defined by your mess ups. Let them.
Letting go of the negative thought process is the most difficult part of elevation. Changing your mind is not something that happens overnight. Even when you know that you need to think more positively, even when you know the self-doubt isn’t real. Actively thinking better takes a moment. Sometimes it takes several moments. So give yourself time to practice and grow and just get better at being you. It will come together a little more every day. And you will look up one day and wonder why you didn’t begin to let yourself off the hook sooner.