So what’s your greatest fear? Your greatest challenge? Whatever it may be – losing weight – showing yourself – speaking in front of a crowd – applying for your dream job. – What’s the actual fear that holds us back? What are you actually afraid of? It’s not dieting, nor delivering the speech. It’s the fear of failure. Fear of making a mistake and then living with it. Living with the shame (cos we shame ourselves, it what we do, even if we don’t have family members that stand in line waiting fill that role for us) and it’s the blame – it has to be someone’s fault! OURS! And the regret of making that mistake. That’s what keeps us frozen in our tracks.
What if I redefined mistake or failure? What if mistake has just been given a bad name, when in fact it is merely a rung in the ladder to the top.
Going back to Mauritius this December – my honeymoon venue – still married 20 years later just with 3 more kids now, has resulted in quite a cathartic summer holiday. I walked in and was amazed at how much the serene resort hadn’t changed. And before I knew it everywhere I walked I caught glimpses of my 20 something self strutting along, confident, happy, self assured, that she had all the answers to the questions the next 20 years of married life was going to throw at her. I marveled at her innocence and confidence. Smirked at her romantic view on life and mourned the loss of the dreamer that once sat on the very same hammoc on the west coast beach.
After a day of this time travel I found myself filling with regret and blame for all the silly mistakes I see myself having made in the past 20 years and oscillated between self reprimand and shame at my stupid choices.
Poor ‘mistakes’ – so harshly judged and tried. If the thesaurus states that the antonym for ‘mistake’ is to ‘understand’ – then surely another word for ‘mistake’ is to ‘misunderstand’. That doesn’t sound so bad now does it? We can afford ourselves compassion for misunderstandings right?
When I look through the looking glass of the past 20 years I know that for each instant, each mistake – for that moment in time, it was the best I could do. Surely some self-compassion is called for. What if I looked back and celebrated each mistake? Honored it, knowing that each one helped me expand – helped me grow – through the pain of failing and mistaking – helped me become wiser, clearer, more conscious and more clear. Just like moving from primary school to middle school and then on to high school and graduation. Looking back we could just as well self reprimand for not knowing what 2+2 is in grade 1? Or at middle school, for not understanding equations? Instead when we look back, we honour those steps and mistakes – not shaming or blaming ourselves about it. Instead looking back at that younger child who was still learning and honoring those failures for equipping us to becoming the best mathematicians alive.
So how’s this for a spiritual definition? ‘Mistakes’ – the choices we make within our limitations for that time that serve as a catalyst to move beyond that exact limitation.
Now do they sound fearful? Hardly! So for 2019 and beyond …I say let’s celebrate our choices (mistakes). Lets look at them with self compassion and eagerness. Let’s mistake superbly so that it may translate to amazing breakthroughs #celebrating mistakes
So no regrets! No shaming! No blaming! From the point on the ladder that we find ourselves let’s look back down, at all those rungs behind us, that got us here – all those mistakes (misunderstandings) – let’s look back at them with compassion and honour and let’s look up at all the misunderstandings (mistakes) that lie ahead of us and let’s say to the Universe ‘Bring on those mistakes’ – ‘I will leap towards them’ – cos they help me get towards the best version of myself.
Stress Less Life Coach