Showing up with Compassion When We Make Mistakes

No one likes making mistakes, but since none of us is perfect, we’d better learn how to handle making them! In her book, Emotional Agility, author Susan David gives us a little insight into how to handle mistakes when they occur. She says,

“…Yes, you did something wrong. Yes, you feel bad about it, because, hey, you should. Maybe you even did something really wrong. Even so, this transgression does not make you an irredeemably awful human being. You can make amends, apologize, and get to work paying your debt to society, whether that means sending flowers or serving time. You can strive to learn from your mistakes and do better in the future. Self-compassion is the antidote to shame” (72-73).

I love how she says that. Admit you did something wrong, feel remorse, apologize and make amends, but have compassion for yourself and realize that doing something wrong does not make you a terrible person. Each one of us experiences moments of embarrassment, regret, and failure. Have the courage to lean into these moments. Feel the pain, learn from it and treat yourself with loving compassion in the midst of it.

Discussion: Can you think of a time when you failed or felt embarrassed? Did you talk to yourself with compassion in that moment? Can you reframe that experience to include compassionate, forgiving and empowering self-talk? You get to write your own story in life. Own your experiences and be compassionate with the story you tell yourself.

Extra Quotes:

“Compassion gives us the freedom to redefine ourselves as well as the all-important freedom to fail, which contains within it the freedom to take the risks that allow us to be truly creative” (David 74).

” Developing meaningful compassion for yourself does not mean deluding yourself. You need to be deeply aware of who you are, for better and for worse, and fully attuned to the world around you. But even when we’re dealing with the real world as it really is, you have enormous leeway in how you respond to it” (David 80).

References: Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life By Susan David

Author: Mini Gems for Kids

I live in Santa Barbara California with my husband and 3 kids. Reading is a favorite past-time and lifeline in my life. I feel giddy with excitement when I find valuable wisdom and inspiration in books. This is my space to share these life-changing lessons in bite-sized format for my kids. I believe with the right information, they can train their brains to think about life’s experiences in productive, positive and powerful ways.

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