Failure is a big topic of conversation these days and can create interesting perspective. The Failure Perspective challenge can help you learn a little about how you view your failures.
Take a piece of paper and fold it in half then think about the last time you saw someone fail. On one side of the paper, write down a few words describing how you felt about that person after their failure.
Now, think about the last time you failed. Turn your paper over and write down a few words describing how you felt about yourself. (I think you know what we’re getting at here…)
After you’re finished, unfold the paper and consider what you’ve written. Did you have a hard time thinking of the last time someone failed? When you described them after the failure, did you use positive words like bravery, persistence, strength, perseverance?
What about your failures? How hard was it to identify a time you failed? Was it hard to limit it to just one? What about the words you used to describe yourself? They weren’t quite as nice were they?
Why are we so much more forgiving of others then we are of ourselves?
New research is suggesting that giving ourselves a break and accepting our imperfections (like we often accept in others) may be a good step towards better health. Many of us have been taught that this self-compassion may be a sign of weakness or that we need our self-criticism to keep moving forward however, this self-criticism and negativity can be detrimental to your health and can make you even less motivated to change. If you take the time to forgive and care about yourself, you tend to make the decisions that are best for you.
So, what can we do?
- Just doing this challenge has created some self-reflection and awareness which is a great first step.
- When you want to self-criticize, remind yourself that most people (even those you think are ‘perfect’) experience feeling of inadequacy. Remind yourself that no one is perfect.
- Write yourself a support letter when you are in a positive mood, similar to something you would write to a friend if they were feeling down. Note your best traits, remind yourself that everyone has flaws and give yourself some recommendations on how you might feel better about yourself. Have some fun with it – at a minimum, you can read it and give yourself a little laughter pick me up!
- Try a meditation break with a compassionate mantra like “I am going to be kind to myself at this moment.” (Remember Stuart Smalley from SNL…’I’m good enough…I’m smart enough and doggone it, people like me’)
Bottom line, take the old adage – ‘Treat others like you want to be treated’ and flip it on its head. Treat yourself with the compassion & forgiveness you give others.