We are the only species that endures consequences for our mistakes/shortcomings more than one time. We do something that we consider imperfect or we fall short of our expectations, and then we spend much of our time berating ourselves for our “failures”.
Put the bat away. Stop beating yourself up. This is one of the most unproductive ways that our brains believe they are helping us when they are not. Our brains think that if they make us feel really badly about our actions (releasing chemicals that make us feel negative feelings and deplete our energy), we will not repeat the actions. This is completely nonsensical.
Productive thought is simple. Walk through the scenario once, maybe twice and ask yourself these questions:
1 – Given the information that I had available to me at the time, did I do my best?
2 – Given the information that I have now (hindsight), is there anything I can do to amend the situation (apologize, clean up the mess, set a boundary, forgive, etc.)?
3 – How can I behave differently in the future should this scenario present itself again?
4 – Am I willing to commit to practice behaving differently should this come up again?
I sometimes beat myself up for not “doing” enough. I have friends that work full-time, are full-time parents, write books, travel to exotic locations, and cook dinner every night for their families. While my daughter prefers the snack-type meals that I prepare for her, I sometimes feel “less than” those who appear to be doing more. I have to continually remind myself that I am doing my best. I am doing my best to manage my time. I am doing my best to define who I am and set my priorities accordingly. I am not everybody else; I am me. I am good enough. I am doing enough.
What good is an accomplishment if the road getting there is full of self-flagulation?
If I can do it, you can do it!
“The point isn’t to live without any regrets. The point is to not hate ourselves for having them.” – Kathryn Schulz