Your inner critic is a bit like your Grandma. She means well, she has your best interests at heart, but sometimes you shouldn’t take her voice as gospel. Because as much as you love her, she’s not always right. However, while your Grandma is mostly sweet, your Inner Critic is mainly spice and when failure pops up in your life – whether it takes shape in a C minus or a Presentation Bomb or running into your boss three tequila’s too deep – your Inner Critic goes into overdrive. This usually includes a dose of negative self-talk, some self-loathing, and a concluding shame spiral for good measure. Next, you’re lying on the couch seemingly incapable to forgive and forget Whatever You F***ed Up. Because we humans are not very good at forgiving ourselves and our mistakes, let alone forgetting them. As Don Miguel Ruiz writes in The Four Agreements, “The human is the only animal on earth that pays a thousand times for the same mistake. The rest of the animals pay once for every mistake they make. But not us. We have a powerful memory. We make a mistake, we judge ourselves, we find ourselves guilty, and we punish ourselves.”
As the competing commitments in our lives increase, room for failure in our days also increases. Like the current news cycle maybe. We spread ourselves thin. We try to do everything perfectly. Then we don’t, and (sometimes) we hate ourselves for it. So how do we set parameters in our lives to cope with handling failure? Can we ever cope, let alone feel good about it? Like all of the great newsletter writers, I didn’t quote Don Miguel Ruiz above for my health. I quoted him above because he DOES, in fact, have the answer to our failing quandaries. He has actually written an entire book about it. The Four Agreements is a little bit spiritual and a little bit like The 10 Commandments. If you don’t sway the spiritual way, you can lean on The Four Agreements much like an atheist still Loves Thy Neighbour As Thyself. If you’re like my mum, you take what you want from it.
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