Daniel Defoe wrote in 1726 that there are two things certain in life - death and taxes.
Over the years many writers and politicians have added to this. Today I would add procrastination and mistakes.
I was thinking about this as I opened the brown envelope from HMRC advising of my tax payments for the next 18 months.
I usually procrastinate to the last week to do my tax return, as it clouds me with gloom.
I was once told to be thankful for my taxes because it shows I earn enough to pay them and they go to support services such as health and education.
We can guarantee that we will almost certainly make mistakes in our lives.
When I make a mistake, it gets me reflecting on other mistakes I’ve made. And that is not always a good thing.
The same with procrastination – putting off tasks because I am worried about the outcome. They build up and up until I feel completed blocked from doing them.
If the mistake is one I have made before, then the voice in my head goes into overdrive. Asking me how could I have been so stupid as to make the same mistake again? Had I not learnt the lesson from before?
Or if it is a new one, why did I not think it through rather than rush at it!
Sometimes if the mistake is obvious to another person, someone who may have known me when I did it before (or similar), I might feel judged.
And then that very ugly word creeps up – shame ...
And with shame comes its friend – vulnerability ...
I am sure we have all been there. Our emotions take over.
Anger at myself for making a mistake.
Guilt that I have done something wrong, especially when it impacts someone else.
Embarrassment that we look foolish in someone else’s eyes.
And the voice is quick to spiral downwards.
We make mistakes everyday and most of the time they are not significant. They may even be funny.
I have a "go to" friend who I can be open with. When I admit to a mistake, my friend’s reaction is guaranteed. ‘Did you kill someone.’ The answer is always No!
Admitting to making a mistake is the hard part, from there you can start to rectify or say, sorry. I talk it through with her and she really listens, then asks questions, then supports me to find a resolution.
I feel the same about procrastination. Having been doing a long overdue declutter, I keep asking myself why I didn’t do this before? Why am I not disciplined to delete emails that I am never going to read but keep filing them into a read later folder.
That brings up a sense of guilt.
It also makes me think I might have missed out on something.
The lockdown accentuates emotions..
Being alone during this lock down brings these emotions into sharper focus. I’d love a hug, not a virtual one, to say, it’s ok.
The mistake may feel huge to you and at this point talking to a friend who you know is calm and logical is the best advice. If like me you let it go round and round, analysing it from every angle. They will help to put things into perspective.
When I start a new project, I often feel a sense of wonder and fear as to whether this will be the one that will catch me out, prove that I am not as good as my cv and references say. Then I remind myself that I have felt like this before, and that once I settle-in the fear goes away.
It’s the same with mistakes, when you can calmly reflect on them, you will see that you came through them before. It might have taken some time. It might hurt for a while.
Yes there may be a bruised ego or upset, but you came through it.
Saying sorry when you make a mistake is a first step, to fixing it.
Saying sorry to yourself for beating yourself up or putting yourself down, is not something most people think to do.
We all make mistakes, some small, some large ...
Forgiving someone for making a mistake is critical. We may ask others to forgive us.
My key question is do we forgive ourselves?
What a great question. Do we forgive ourselves?
We are often so hard on ourselves that we give space and energy to many others and never take the time for us. Wow! Food for thought indeed...
With love, Lynda
If you are finding things difficult please reach out and talk to someone. It is tough, any change is difficult.
Barbara and I, and many other people around you, will do what we can to support you. Please reach out. Ask for help. Talk to others.
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