“To err is human.” All human beings are imperfect. We all have flaws and we all make mistakes. No human being is exempt from this universal reality. Because imperfection is part of our DNA, we may think that imperfection is an easy part of ourselves to accept. However, in our western culture, imperfection is often viewed personally as unacceptable. A common reaction we have for dealing with our mistakes consists of berating ourselves for them. And, one mistake which mires us in self-doubt, may prevent us from pursuing our dreams.
What can one do to change this? Well, self-compassion has been an essential component of many Eastern philosophies for centuries. According to Kristen Neff, a self-compassion researcher, “The central aspect of self-compassion involves treating ourselves with kindness when things go wrong.”
New research on the practice self-compassion is overwhelmingly positive! Self-compassion goes a long way in promoting success, both personally and professionally. Wallowing in negativity does not help us mentally. Therefore, accepting our imperfections allows us to learn and grow from our mistakes, instead of being defined by them.
So, the next time a presentation doesn’t go as planned, a paper gets a “C” instead of an “A” or your boss points out a mistake that you made, pause and refrain from beating yourself up. Treat yourself with kindness, as you would a good friend in the same situation and know that you are more than the one mistake. In fact, mistakes can help us grow.