Give Yourself a Break
My vicious internal monologue starts off the moment I make a mistake. Why couldn’t you just get it right? You should be able to do this! Why are you incapable of doing this simple thing? Becca. Just try to not mess everything up. Why can’t you do this? Why can’t you just do EVERYTHING perfectly ALL the time? I don’t know if you think this way. Perhaps I’m the only sad sap who beats herself up every time she falls. It could be something as stupid as forgetting I have an assignment due, or something as serious as oversleeping my alarm and being late to work. I make big mistakes, I make small mistakes, and I fail all the time.
“There’s only so much of me to go around, and it’s like I’m needed to be in more places than I have the capacity to get to. I can only stretch so thin, you know? But I want to be able to do everything.” I found myself telling this to a mentor last week, and ended by saying “I just want to be able to do EVERYTHING, you know?” I looked up and met their eyes as they laughed a little and said, “You can’t. You just can’t.”
This is one of the things I’ve struggled with intensely for the past year. Where to shift, where to bend, how to decide which thing takes priority over everything else. I’ve just passed the year anniversary of a very traumatic event in my life, and for a while, my recovery from that was my overwhelming priority. All other areas of my life sort of fell by the wayside. I dropped friendships, classes, grades, work performance. Surviving, and then recovering, took precedence. Now I’m facing a new challenge: learning how to thrive in this new era of my life.
I’m starting to exert more effort to try and pick up the pieces. But what I get frustrated with each time is that I can’t just magically do everything to my best ability. It’s so hard to admit that not only am I not perfect, but I’m nowhere even close to that and I never will be.
Part of my problem is that I need to recognize that I am trying, very hard. I work two jobs, I go to school full-time, and I have writing commitments on the side. But I am a human. And humans aren’t perfect. All I can do is try, and try again, and try.
I wrote a paper once about how failure is one of the best opportunities I’d ever been given. Failure has taught me how to try and not stop trying. But what I think I’m learning now is how to fail well. Part of that means forgiving myself and also, not letting it get to me. I’m trying to learn how to give myself a break for once, and accept that it’s okay to fail–not only that, but I should expect to fail. I want to learn how to give myself that kind of grace.
How about you, fellow humans? Do you ever catch yourself when that wicked little voice inside your head starts? Do you give yourself grace to fail?
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