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Loving Yourself When You Let Yourself Down

A common trend I have found in millennials, myself included, is this incredible ability to hold ourselves to high standards. We tell ourselves that we are supposed to graduate college, find a high paying job, fall in love, travel the world and do it all effortlessly. As we know, life is a little bumpier of a ride than that and things don’t always go exactly as planned. What happens when we come face to face with failure amidst the expectations we hold ourselves to?

Often times we are committed to a set of values and goals that motivate us. We fall into patterns of accomplishing the many tasks set before us, getting caught up in the "go go go" of each day. Things are going well... for a time. When we least expect it, failure comes crashing in, forcing us to reprioritize. 

In my experience, each time I have felt that deep rooted sense of self-disappointment, it is because a chord has been struck, something that pushes on a much deeper hurt than a menial mistake. Our conscious may be that little voice that reminds us of our failures, but it is also that little voice that inspires change. Learning to let go of the things of the past that cause hurt, guilt and bitterness can be a very challenging task, one I am certainly still working through, but acknowledging that within and taking time to refocus is essential and incredibly restorative. 

What does refocusing look like? 

1. Acknowledge what happened and how it made you feel. 

You know that cliche saying about how we are our own worst critics? How unbelievably true is that statement. When people of good character fail, they admit their mistakes, make up for the damage they caused and are forgiven. Others will forget our failures with time, but what about when we can't forgive ourselves? The sense of knowing you have failed yourself, causes a much deeper wound.

2. Ask yourself what your goals are and what motivates you. 

If you are being motivated by things that fail to align with your long term goals,
 they are sure to cause feelings of disappointment with ones own inconsistency.
 It is so easy to lose track of our long term goals in the day to day. 

3. Refocus your daily motivations. 

Once you have identified your long term goals,
 re-write your short term goals so that you can set yourself up for success.
Why waste time when the answer to your problems is in your hands?

Revisit this however often you feel it is helpful. 

4. Ask yourself if what you are doing now is going to reap the long term benefits you are hoping for. 

Successful people don't just stumble blindly into accomplishing their goals, they do everything in their power to grab hold of them. Remember what you are capable of, because it is so much more than you think. It is so easy to get hung up on our failures, to sit in the guilt and to continuously punish yourself because you think you "deserve it." No matter how badly you failed yourself, you do not deserve to wallow in guilt, what a waste of precious time. 

Recognize the decisions you have made and acknowledge the past but strive to turn your failures into opportunities for learning and change. With each new day we are presented with situations that have the potential to grow us, let them. Look back on failures and be grateful for what you learned about yourself, chances are it inspired change and we all know what beauty springs from times of transition.