Drop the Defensiveness
Instead, embrace mistakes! If you feel defensive, the next emotional step is to deny you made a mistake, or worse, justify it. We might think, “I wouldn’t have done this if that person had done their work, or this person hadn’t pressured me.” Defensiveness leads us to pass off blame, robbing us of the chance to figure out where we went wrong and improve.
When you feel defensive, consider graciously accepting the negative feedback and consider whether there is some truth therein. Why? You become easier to be around and you learn more. If you decide to take responsibility for your part, do so with gentleness to yourself. Accepting responsibility is not about beating ourselves up; it’s about self-awareness and self-improvement.
Think of Mistakes as Information
If we need to be perfect, the only other option is failure. Since perfection is impossible, where does that leave us?
Instead of dooming yourself to failure, consider each mistake as information. It tells you how to get better. If you want a goal: shoot for progress. Progress is something we can achieve and measure.
Remember to Enjoy Learning
If you love to learn, perfection is not for you. Do you remember how much joy you’ve gotten from hard- earned success in the past? This could be in school, work, athletic training, anything you really worked for. The more you overcame, the more satisfying the victory.
Neither you nor I popped out of the womb with perfect skill in knowledge in math, playing an instrument, athletic coordination or relationship skills. There’s a learning curve. To remind yourself, post a note on your mirror that states, “Progress, not Perfection.”
Stop and Notice Progress
This is important! When we only notice mistakes, we forget to notice our gains.
When you feel down on yourself, look back and notice at least 3 ways you’ve made improvements. Stop and take the time. List progress points. Know that you are evolving, growing, trying. Give yourself the credit. As you learn to see yourself in gentleness, it will be a more natural way to see others and walk in your humanness.