Here’s what I screwed up today: I failed at calmly teaching my kid about fractions and we both wound up in tears, yelling, and interrupting my husbands call with one of the head people at his company (notice all 3 failures there). I tried to make bread and screwed it up twice – the first was that I used an entire packet of yeast in stead of 1/4 tsp because I misread the label and thought that the whole packet was 1/4 tsp, not that 1/4 tsp was the serving amount and that there were actually 24 quarter teaspoons. The second is that I used wax paper to let the bread rise the second time instead of parchment paper and it stuck like glue in carpet. I also messed up the last of the knitting project I was working on. And mind you, I’m writing this at 10 am and this was all today.
Now here is the absolute toughest part – not letting this bother me, and continuing to move on about my day. I really, really suck at this part. I tend to hold on to my feelings of failure and let it bother me for the rest of the day. I try hard, and when I fail at letting the emotions go, I feel even more like a failure and it’s a gigantic snowball of feeling like crap. And then once I start to feel this way it’s even easier to find myself falling into bad eating habits (read chocolate and other junk food), losing my patience even faster at my kids, feeling terrible about my health choices, and all the other things that I feel terrible about comes boiling up to the surface. It’s a really good way to be completely miserable.
How do you go about feeling better? Well, once I’ve beaten myself up for the day, sometimes two days, I finally kick myself hard enough in the ass to get a grip and get back into routine. There are a couple good fast ways to start to feel better. The first is to do a quick brisk walk outside. Not everybody has this option, especially if you’ve got small kiddos at home. If you can do a quick workout that helps, too. You don’t need to change into workout clothes, just pop a couple moves out really fast and take a couple minute pause. Find a counter and do 5-10 leaning pushups, do a 30-second to 1-minute wall sit, and do a couple of squats. Super simple, or maybe not, but keep doing it and it will get easier. If you have the time get a quick cry out of the way so you can bust out those feelings, and then go wash your face so you can get back to it. A lot of times those burst of emotions just need to get out.
If you have a little bit more time then do a full work out and then take a shower. Or just take a shower. Not a bath where you can languish in your misery, a shower. Make it as hot or cold as you like, but get a good shower in – you can also use this time to cry but the shower and fresh clean start is important. This also gives you the time to think of alternative solutions and fresh ideas to help you with whatever problem you are facing. But don’t go off the deep end and make your problem worse by thinking of extreme, unfulfillable solutions.
Take this opportunity, no matter how small it is, to start over. It won’t be a completely fresh start, it won’t be a total do-over, but it is a new beginning. Grab this new beginning and do your best. The emphasis here is best, not be perfect. Nobody is perfect, nobody will be perfect, and holding yourself to that standard is only going to make you feel worse when you don’t accomplish what you feel is perfect. So just stop. Lower that standard to best and you won’t be nearly as miserable when what you accomplish is incredible in other people’s eyes, but not perfect in your own. Let that shit go.
Now go take your moment to acknowledge that you feel like crap, wash your face, and do your best for the moment. You got this!