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Four Words To Use More Often: Yes, No, Oops & Hello

Part 3 of 5: How Embracing Oops Can Change Your Life

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by Lisa Cohen in Expansion, Quality of Life, Strategies

Do you have perfectionist tendencies? Do you focus more on the ways you feel you aren’t good enough or haven’t done enough than on your accomplishments (maybe even to the exclusion of your accomplishments)? 

Perfectionism can make it hard to forgive yourself if you make a mistake and even make you feel guilt or shame if you think that you’ve “messed up” by not meeting your own super-high standards.  Perfectionists tend to be very hard on themselves when it comes to self-judgment, and that can cause a burden of constant pressure. 

If this sounds like you, you’re definitely not alone (in fact, I consider myself a “recovering perfectionist”).

Practice Saying “Oops!”

What if you made more space in your life for the word oops? What if you stopped grading yourself based on what you have or haven’t done? What if you let go of the guilt and shame you carry around and relieved the constant pressure on yourself?

Imagine how it would feel to allow yourself to make some mistakes (GASP!) and how it would feel to give yourself an oops rather than a complete dressing-down.  If you’re a perfectionist, it’s probably likely that the thing that you’re down on yourself about isn’t nearly worth how hard you’re being on yourself.

Sometimes, you might make a mistake that impacts other people. Maybe you sent out something at work with a big typo in it. Maybe you missed a friend’s party or forgot an important appointment. If you make a mistake that affects someone else, allow yourself an “Oops!” in your own head instead of totally beating yourself up, then own your mistake with some combination of an apology and a possible fix or amends.

Give Yourself Some Grace

If you mess up in some way, try offering yourself some grace, especially if the blunder was minor or inconsequential in the scheme of things (yes, perfectionist, I know that you beat yourself up for those things, too).  You deserve the same compassion and understanding that you would offer to someone else if they had made the mistake.  A good way to start offering grace to yourself is to think about how you’d treat someone else if they’d done what you’d done.  You can even practice giving grace to others because, the more you do this, the easier it will be to extend grace to yourself.

When you make a mistake, embrace the word oops, take responsibility and handle any fallout if that’s necessary, and then let it go.  Don’t hold onto it and replay it over and over again.  You can’t be your best self if you’re constantly focused on all of your mistakes. Instead, know that you don’t have to be perfect or flawless. Nobody is.  You’re already worthy. Read Part 4: Say Hello To New Experiences And Connections.

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