Compassioning Your Mistakes
Entrepreneur and author of “Learning to Love Midlife,” Chip Conley, reminds us that “The list of what inhibits us from making mistakes is as long as we are old. The fear of looking stupid. The desire not to lose what we have. The ego’s desire to feel infallible or perfect.”
We know that risk taking is an inherent part of growth and learning. And when we risks ourselves, we sometimes make mistakes.
We’ve all felt the sting of regret from a bad call, a decision that went off the rails, or some opportunity we didn’t act on. But Dan Pink, author of “The Power of Regret,” offers an encouraging twist: Regret isn’t just baggage; it’s a secret weapon for growth.
And, here’s the unlock: We need to level up our self-compassion.
Instead of beating ourselves up, Pink suggests treating ourselves like a supportive friend. Acknowledge the misstep, sure, but with kindness. Everyone makes mistakes; seeing it as a learning opportunity, not a personal flaw, is game-changing.
Think of regret as a neon sign flashing “lessons ahead!” Self-compassion lets us read those lessons without the harsh sting of self-criticism. We can analyze, learn, and rewrite our story with newfound wisdom and confidence.
Practice this notion: It is incomplete if your compassion does not include yourself.
If you’re anything like me, you have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t helped. We’re all works in progress. We can better weather our mistakes, shortcomings, and disappointments if we act kindly towards ourselves.
So, the next time regret bites, don’t despair. Embrace it, be kind to yourself, and watch it transform from foe to fuel. You’ll be surprised how much growth a little self-compassion can unlock.
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