Are you beating yourself up?

Now, look back at a time where you had a conflict, or you made a mistake that left you pondering about how on earth you could have acted the way you did. Did you beat yourself up?

I certainly know the feeling and the blame game that starts in my head. Was it my fault, could I have done it faster, smoother or more caring. And in most circumstances, this most certainly is the case.

But we all do our very best at that certain point in time with the level of competence we possess. No matter how inappropriate and incompetent it might seem, we still do our best.

We need to experiment and make tons of mistakes in order to reach a new level of clarity, insight and competence. And sometimes the experiments are not that beautifully performed.

We need to accept, love and if possible forgive the mistakes and missteps we make because they are all a part of the experiments we make on the journey of life. Experiments that will teach us something about how to move on in an even better way than before.

We don’t get up in the morning to give our least possible effort, but if you want to expand yourself and follow the inspiration that is just outside your comfort zone you will make mistakes.

And it might be clumsy… because you are just learning. And that is exactly what it is – opportunity for learning.

If you beat yourself up about your imperfect efforts you will cheat yourself for the learning and possible expansion that all these incidents hold. Without openness towards the learning you will most likely keep on making the same mistakes again and again.

So, stop beating yourself up and instead celebrate your mistakes as experiments because they hold the new learning that can expand you.


Here is how to enhance the learning from your mistakes:


1.  When you make a clumsy effort or mistake, celebrate yourself for at least trying.

2. Analyze the incident to glean the learning from it:

  • What exactly happened?
  • How did you react – feel and think?
  • What is the learning?

3. Decide – what do you feel motivated to do differently next time?

These are questions you can use anywhere you want to increase focus on the learning instead of the failure or mistake. For example, in projects or meetings.