How to Be Kind to Yourself As You Learn (And Make Mistakes)
The best and worst part about having a unique purpose is that there is no road-map. There are things you can learn from, but no one’s journey will ever be quite like yours. Forbidden Luxe is my own testament to that. There have been so many times along this road to building a brand that meets the vision in my head that have been marked by feelings of insecurity and falling short.
In the past week, I’ve felt strongly the pressure of falling short and even considered taking a semi-permanent break from blogging and side-hustling all together. Mediocrity, the status quo, seems appealing when obstacles start beating you down. As I’ve sifted through these feelings, I’m realizing a lot about myself and this journey I’m on; the journey all of us are on -- the one towards greatness. Life is one big game of trial and error. Sometimes the error part of that means stopping and figuring out how to get around the obstacle ahead. Other times the error means starting from scratch. We can’t be afraid to start from the beginning. A clean slate makes for endless opportunities and just because you’ve started before doesn’t mean you’re failing from the start.
The status quo seems appealing when obstacles are beating you down. Remember life's one big game of trial and error.
The mental space that a clean slate opens up is usually the thing you need to go at it again, but it’s still all practice. Staring the unknown in the face opens up a whirlwind of doubt and uncertainty that’s sometimes enough to make you turn around and go right back to where you came from for good. This is a gentle reminder to handle yourself, with kid gloves because navigating through uncertainty to get to the other side never gets easier no matter how many times you do it; you’re bound to make mistakes along the way.
The truth is, we all like to feel like we know what we’re doing. There’s this confidence that mastery brings. No one really celebrates the title of novice, but what if you should be? What if the real celebration should come not when you’ve achieved all there is in a certain area, but at the thought of practice and its importance in developing us (James 1:2-4). All it takes is a little grace.
Grace is the one thing we deny ourselves on the quest to perfection. When things don’t go seamlessly we attribute it to our lack, rather than allowing room for the failure that is inevitable in trying new things. There’s a real struggle that comes when learning to be kind to ourselves as we’re in the thick of figuring things out. It’s when we’re finally implementing our practice plans and things aren’t going, well, as planned.
We are so focused on not seeming amateur that we neglect the grace that practice brings.
Taking the step to try, to practice and learn, is the first step to growth. The second? Allowing yourself to do so freely, without self-judgement or condemnation. Here are some tips on practicing self-kindness and you learn and inevitably make mistakes.
Focus on the Wins & Treat the Losses as Normal
Why is it that we go into things anticipating the positive results, but not the negative ones? As if there is no possibility of any other option.
Perhaps it’s because failing isn’t pleasant to think about. However, it’s inevitable. That’s the first step in allowing it to mold you. Accept that failure is inevitable. Next, remove the stigma associated with it. Armed with this knowledge shift your mindset to treat the losses as a neutral casualty. It’s going to happen. You’d rather be prepared for them than surprised and shaken.
This is a call to focus on the good things that happen and treat the losses as par for the course, because they are.
Don’t Allow Frustration to Determine Worth
While skillset is definitely important, it doesn’t determine your value as a human being. Your ability to do something does not determine your worth. In a world where our resumes have become our identities it’s often hard to make that distinction.
Don’t allow frustration with not mastering a task instantly talk you out of how great you are outside of it. There is nothing you have to achieve before you’re worthy of love, or joy or the fulfillment of your dreams. All you have to do it consistently put in the work. The rest will flow.
Pull a Lesson Out of Everything
One of the first things I learned about fulfilling purpose is that the actual goal isn’t really the point. Yes, you’re called to do very specific things, but your purpose is who you become in the process. Results are a byproduct of that. I’m not saying that results don’t matter. They’re indicators of what’s going right and wrong.
However, the things we were created to do & the gifts we were brought here to share are not dictated by how the majority receives them. Not by how much money you make off of them. Or how many likes you get on Instagram. Your gifts have their own lane.
So, win or lose, as you journey through practice land ask yourself one question: what did I learn?
Set Benchmarks for Yourself
Part of the reason why we sometimes feel like we’re failing at things is because of stagnancy; we don’t feel like we’re moving forward. A good way to avoid this feeling and get a realistic picture of where you stand is by setting benchmarks along the way.
Your benchmarks take the pressure off of reaching the end goal because you focus on each task at hand as they come. If you are always working towards something specific, then you’re always moving forward. This is the key to keep your process moving.
Get A Grip on Reality
Making sure to stay realistic is one of the most important tips for self-kindness because when things go wrong we tend to allow that to drip over into our whole lives. In times of frustrations or angst along the learning process, be sure to stay centered.
Not being able to grasp a specific concept doesn’t mean you’re a failure all together. Take a few deep breaths and practice telling yourself the truth. It helps get you back on track so you can focus on the goal.
How do you practice self-kindness in the face of frustration?