Mistakes - don't just get over them, grow from them
I made a foolish mistake. Quite an easy mistake but I still thought it was very foolish. And my immediate reaction was “I am an idiot”. No lead in time, no pause, I noticed the mistake and thought, “I am an idiot” which was quickly followed by yelling some expletives and yelling again “I am an idiot” about 5 times. One slightly positive element is I was at home and could let it all out in a fury rather than bottling it up.
This reaction was automatic and quite drastic.
2 minutes into this yelling it was like I switched on a light and thought “geez this is really negative”. I immediately had to rewire my brain by changing my thoughts and I went to “I made a mistake and it’s fixable, it doesn’t mean I am an idiot”.
The mistake wasn’t a life or death situation, and it really won’t affect anything. I came up with several ways around this mistake and to be honest the easiest correction would cost about $5 in material and a bit of time on my behalf.
But I want to talk about that immediate negative reaction because it was strong and super nasty. Thinking “I am an idiot” is something that I have had to struggle with over the course of my life. I remember having difficulty reading as a 5 year old and I needed to attend after school classes. Hands down this life experience is where this negative thought about myself comes from. It didn’t matter that I was quite young for my class and that I probably just wasn’t ready to start reading, at the time I took away the belief that “I was an idiot” and that was a program or pattern my brain has been running for over 25 years.
The crazy part about our brain is once we believe something to be true, in this instance that I was in fact an idiot at age 5, I saw this truth being played out everywhere in my life. I remember spelling a word wrong and being laughed at, there starts my fear of writing, spelling and sharing my personal thoughts with others in that one simple interaction. At school in subjects I wasn’t very good at I compared my results to my friends results, however in subjects I was good at I didn’t even think about comparing myself to my friends and considering it something I was good at, it ended up just being not thought about.
Through working on myself I’ve moved on to recognising this is the default pattern my brain goes to and I have tried to reverse it but this mistake mentioned about was one that impacted my work and that made it a big deal in my brain, and as such a big reaction. And as I mentioned earlier, a very simple but powerful technique whereby you change the thought can allow you to change your behavior patterns.
By distinguishing the mistake as separate from who I am as a person was how I managed this situation. I am not the mistake I made and I am not an idiot for making a mistake. When I focused on this I was able to change my whole behaviour and rather than demoralising myself I started to get creative with solutions. If I had stayed in that negative thought pattern there is no way I could have come up with a great solution very quickly because I would have been dwelling in the problem rather than creating solutions. So next time you notice a little negative thinking kicking in, ask yourself,
1. Does this thing/mistake/emotion/thought describe who I am as a person?
2. Do I want to be more positive in myself?
3. What personality traits do I like about myself?
4. What kind of person do I want to be?
Then we move onto a simple technique where you focus on the kind of person you want to be (based on the questions above) and change your thinking to be more positive. We do this with affirmations. Because the more you say something to yourself the more your brain believes it. After 25 years of me telling myself “I am an idiot”, I have to tell my brain a hundred times the opposite of that.
You can use anything like:
· I have the power to create change
· I am enough
· I am an amazing person
· I choose my own attitude and I am happy
Or like the picture above - I am a precious gem. Keep on shining.
The wording is going to be specific to you, your thought patterns and how you would like to feel. And you can save this new affirmation as your screensaver, write it on a post it and stick it to your bathroom mirror or, stick it in your car to read while driving. It is a reminder to focus on this new thought and actively change the brains way of thinking.
If you would like some help working out an affirmation for yourself, book in for a Kinesiology appointment and we can work out where your thought patterns started and specialise an affirmation for you.