How do we react to them? For ourselves or maybe when kids make them. We will all make them, so we might as well make the best of it and realize they are learning and growth opportunities.
I was recently a guest on the podcast Thrive State which I was so excited about because I am a huge fan of the host and the podcast. It has many followers on social media, so I was a bit starstruck when I was asked to be a guest. During the pre-recorded interview, I was asked about an impactful or favorite book I’ve read.
Almost every night, I read a book. I love reading. Some of the books I really enjoyed reading recently were Molecules of Emotion by Candace Pert and The Hidden Messages in Water by Masuro Emoto. So, when I was asked about one of my favorite books, I said, Molecules of Water. I sort of merged both titles in my head even though I meant to say, “The Hidden Messages in Water.” I described what the book was about and why I loved it, but the title was completely incorrect when I said it.
I realized my mistake just minutes after finishing the podcast, which would not air for a few weeks, and I was mortified. It may seem small, and we all decide what is a small or a big mistake, but I was mortified about it.
At first, I thought, “Oh no! I think I said Molecules of Water. OMG!” Then I thought, “Well, it is prerecorded, so it can just be edited out. I will message him, and that part can be edited out before it gets released.” After all, it seems like everything now can be edited, enhanced, or a filter placed to make us all look better. I told my friend about it, and she said, “I am sure no one will notice.” And that is true as well. But I knew. However, the reality is that life is not Pinterest perfect and amazing every day. It is messy and flawed, has ups and downs, dark and light times.
I decided to embrace that life, and I, are not perfect. I was not going to try to control everything in life. Instead, I was going to give myself compassion about it and not beat myself up. I did not ask for my mistake to be changed or edited out. I wanted to keep it as it was: a reminder of my humanity. I decided to acknowledge I am human and not perfect, but I would then make changes for future podcasts from that day onward. I decided to write things down or put them in front of me during podcasts because sometimes I get dyslexia and switch names or numbers. (I have gone to the airport on the wrong day because I switched the date in my head; so yes, my dyslexia has put me in interesting predicaments before).
I was speaking to a great friend, and she had told me about a mutual friend she just met. She told me, oh, I just met Peter this past weekend; he is a super cool guy. I said, “You mean Phil?” She replied, “Oh yes, names are not my superpower.” And that is a tremendous and insightful observation; we all have different superpowers, and it is about realizing our strengths and weaknesses and then being compassionate when we need to work on the challenging part for us.
So my advice is to find self-compassion. Talk to yourself as you would talk to children you love or a friend. Not shaming, judging, or saying you are so stupid, but with love. Love starts with love for us first!
And then laugh about it. Laugh and realize it may make a funny story after. No one is perfect, and when you realize your humanity, you will navigate lighter in life with more ease, freedom, and joy. Trying to achieve perfection will bring stress, make your shoulder tight and hurt, and likely give you headaches at a minimum because it is just not possible to be perfect. Trying to be perfect will make life feel and seem hard and very serious, and it does not have to be. It will also keep you stuck because you will keep doing things repeatedly, trying to make it perfect before you take action. You will ruminate and waste time when you could have kept moving forward.
Enjoy the blunders, the mistakes, the falls on your face. Dust yourself off. Realize they are your opportunities to grow and laugh a little. It may take a little time, but find the silver lining and the humor in your mistake and try to remember laughter is the best medicine. So, take it all in, the mistakes, the victories, and everything in between.
Diana Londoño is a urologist and can be reached on Twitter @DianaLondonoMD.