Mistakes; we make them every day. Being human means being imperfect, it’s something that we should know right? So why do some of us sit there and beat ourselves up instead of celebrating the gifts that we have to offer to the world?
I think it comes from a lack of confidence. People that are less confident will over-critique themselves because they'll never feel that they are up to par, so they strive for perfection, although it is impossible to attain. Why do I believe that? Because I was someone who struggled for years with low self-esteem and still have to remind myself that making a mistake isn’t a flaw on my character.
As a child, my teacher would ask me to measure lines aloud and because I had no confidence in my abilities, I would read the measurements wrong on purpose, although the ruler told me the right length! As I entered adulthood, I would make mistakes as anyone in their 20's would, and for hours, days, and weeks, I'd relive the situation throughout my mind and go through different scenarios where I could have done or said something different to make everything better. That is insanity.
Some people are perfectionists, but why is that? Are we trying to fulfill the need of impressing someone we love but who never cared for what we did? Are we longing for their or society’s approval? For me, it was about having a close knit family whose cohesiveness was built on love instead of drinking together. I felt the need to be perfect because I was surrounded by such dysfunction that I needed to make up for not only my inadequacies, but my family’s as well.
I watched a cooking competition recently, there were four chefs competing to make the best tasting meal based on three courses; appetizer, entrée, and dessert. During an interview segment, one chef discussed not having a close family that supported him growing up and his dreams to become a chef, which caused him to feel inadequate and lack confidence in his cooking abilities.
The unconfident chef presented an enticing course each round, but would critique his dish prior to the judges tasting it. Finally, one of the judges told him to stop beating himself up and that he was a very competent chef, which sort of snapped the chef out of his mindset. The unconfident chef won the competition, which proved that he had the talent within, but he just had to believe in himself, just as the judges did, regardless if his family did not.
How do we defeat this mindset? Each person’s solution is different, but for me it meant forgiving myself for the mistakes I made, as well as reconciling that I am not responsible for my family’s dysfunction or what people think about me. It meant realizing that I will make mistakes and that’s fine, they’re learning lessons for living. With that came a higher sense of confidence, my abilities, accomplishments, and no more sleepless nights over what shoulda, woulda, coulda happened or worry over being liked by strangers.