How do you treat yourself when you fall short of your goals or expectations of yourself?
How you treat yourself matters.
The way you respond to yourself directly impacts the level of success you’ll find in reaching your goals.
I often see my clients beat themselves up for falling short. They say things like:
I shouldn’t have done that.
Why did I think that would work?
I just can’t get it right.
Or, if they realize that beating themselves up is harmful to their overall goals, they often just want to skim past any negative emotions that come up. This is where I hear things like:
I just need to get over myself.
I need to move on.
It’s not a big deal.
Neither beating yourself up, nor trying to ignore negative emotion around falling short is useful. Think about it - how do either of these methods serve you?
They consume valuable energy, attention, and feed personal mistrust. Have you ever given an amazing performance after dumping a bucket of self loathing over your head? Doubtful.
Think about the self talk you use. Is it hurtful? Does it generate feelings of shame, discouragement, or insecurity?
These are emotions that will prevent you from moving forward, and sometimes even worse, they can actually cause you to backtrack.
If your goal is to improve, your best efforts will never be fueled by negative emotion.
When you fall short, handle yourself with care. Allow the feelings of disappointment to be there. Acknowledge how you feel - surprisingly, this will help you move out of disappointment quicker. Being with your emotions is the most effective way to get to the place where you can continue on your path to accomplishing your goals.
After you’ve processed disappointment, reframe how you fell short. What are the lessons this experience has taught you? What do you know now that you didn’t before? Every time something doesn’t work out how you envisioned it, there are valuable insights to be gained that will propel you forward if you just look for them.
Berating yourself or trying to skip past the discomfort of disappointment robs you of valuable opportunities. When you don’t learn from the lessons before you, it becomes more likely that you will continue making unnecessary mistakes until you are open to learning those lessons.
Be patient with yourself. Give yourself some grace. Be kind, because how you treat yourself matters.