For many, being kind to ourselves can be challenging. We hold such high expectations about what we should be doing, that we constantly belittle our own efforts. If we do not take the time to check in with what we are telling ourselves, we might not recognize how critical we are being. The good news is that we can start right now to bring awareness to our thinking and begin choosing thoughts that support us rather than bring us down.
It is often better to fail wholeheartedly, then to avoid failure by not even trying. By trying and failing, we actually learn the most from the process. When we remind ourselves that mistakes are a healthy part of learning, we learn and grow very quickly. As a result, we set ourselves up for future success. On the flip side, if we do not try in order to avoid failure, we remain stuck in our old ways and rob ourselves of the excitement of participating in our own evolution.
Even the young people I work with experience the fear of failure. Some students are constantly reminding themselves of past defeats or telling themselves that they are incapable of success. These types of repetitive thoughts gain momentum and start to influence their access to future accomplishments. This is why it is so important to focus on successful habits of thought in our classrooms and homes. We must build, practice, and reinforce beliefs that help bring out our best.
I once had a student that had given up on school. He felt like he was constantly living under the doubting eyes of his well-meaning parents. In their minds, they were doing everything they could to ensure his success. As a result of their efforts, however, he had become frustrated. He felt like his own ideas and ways of doing things were unacceptable. Being a creative and curious person, who liked figuring things out for himself, this had become a major stumbling block. During our time together, he was thrilled to learn that mistakes were okay. In fact, this realization turned his entire school experience around. He recognized that his parents’ well-intentioned worries and insecurities did not have to become his own. Free to make mistakes and learn from them, his grades improved and he became a happier student.
If you have been judging yourself harshly about the past, present, or future, now is the time to let it all go. Everyone fails, makes mistakes, and feels foolish sometimes. In fact, creating room for these things to happen makes life more fun. Give yourself a break. Declare that your life is a success. All successful people made mistakes, had difficult relationships, and failed more than once. You are in good company, and the world is waiting for you to share your gifts.