I get annoyed at myself a lot. Like, a lot. Multiple times a day. Part of that is my natural inclination after years of experiencing depression and anxiety, but part of it feels like human nature. No one is is happy about every single choice they make. We’re humans and we make mistakes. The problem is, I can hear that a million times, but an aspect of that never sinks in. Failing is extremely uncomfortable to me, and even though I’m discovering why, that doesn’t make it any easier to manage.
Over the years, I’ve created an unrealistic way of viewing failure. I don’t think that’s a unique thing to say, but I think we all have a unique way that we create this unrealistic view. In my situation, I create lose-lose situation for myself when it comes to working on tasks and working toward my goals. I either a) accomplish my goal and minimize the importance of that by telling myself I was supposed to get it done or I b) beat myself up for failing to reach whatever goal I set, regardless of questioning if that goal was realistic in the first place.
Basically, I’m either self-deprecating with success or self-critical with failure. Either way you look at it, this approach isn’t designed to handle or manage failure in a healthy way. In fact, it’s not even designed to acknowledge that failure is an option. And since this is my day-to-day life we’re talking about here and not an exciting action movie, I’m ignoring the obvious. Failure is absolutely an option – and I’ve built it up as something to be feared instead of something based in reality.
When you build something up so much that you’re afraid of what happens when you make a mistake, one thing is clear – whatever path you’re on, it’s not the right one. I live most of my day in nerve-wracking suspense. I never get too comfortable in being myself, because if I get too comfortable I’ll make a mistake, and if I make a mistake I’ll be angry with myself. I don’t like that this happens, but I don’t think I could work on changing this until I acknowledge what’s going on. And let’s be honest – it’s no way to go through life, and it’s no way to build a healthy mindset.
So, where do I go from here? Oftentimes I feel like my posts read like diary entries where I just write about what’s on my mind, but I also know there’s value in naming aspects of ourselves that we want to improve. How can you improve an aspect of your wellness if you don’t know that you’re falling short in that area? With the help of others, I’ve been able to recognize that I put far too much in minuscule mistakes I make. That hasn’t stopped me from beating myself up over them, but it’s a start. Now it’s time to find a way to improve how I manage those feelings in a healthy, helpful way – just like an other aspect of living with mental health challenges.
It took me a long time to admit that I’m too hard on myself about making mistakes. How about you? Have you ever found it difficult to figure out an area of life you’re struggling with? Let me know in the comments!