I made a mistake and it led to two things I avoid like the plague: confrontation and conflict. I had the chance to observe my thoughts again, and they went like this: I’m a horrible person. I hate myself. I’m such an idiot. How can I be so stupid?
Tears came to my eyes and I tried to hold them back. I let people down and was angry at myself. I showed contempt for myself by shaking my head and rolling my eyes at myself. I wanted the painful thoughts to disappear.
Then I remembered: I’m allowed to think these thoughts and feel this way. I’m allowed to react this way. I remembered that my reactions weren’t another failure and that I didn’t need to add guilt onto everything I was feeling.
I realised this was an opportunity to put into practice what I’ve been learning about my identity and worth. And in the end I was grateful for it because if I wasn’t given the opportunity, I might forget the lesson or chicken out of applying it.
I wanted to be seen as real and not perfect. Well, I got what I wanted. Now it was up to me to deal with it. I told myself: This is all okay. It’s life. You stuff up. People see it. It’s okay. I’ve just got to learn to deal with it better.
My natural response to stuffing up is to think I’m the worst person alive, but I’m learning it doesn’t have to be this way. My thoughts aren’t always right. I can acknowledge them, but then I can choose to think differently instead of letting them spiral out of control.
So instead of feeling bad about myself, I remembered that my mistakes, failures, and people’s opinions of me don’t give me my identity or worth. I don’t need to please people, be perfect, or perform anymore.
It’s a process. My identity and worth has been tied to my actions and people’s opinions for so long, and it will take time for them to be untied.
But the big step forward is that I’m okay in all this. I’m not going to pieces this time. I’m okay with my thoughts and feelings. They’re not destroying me.
It’s still painful, but it’s better than it’s been because I remember: I’m not a horrible person and I don’t hate myself.