I make mistakes ALL THE TIME. I put my foot in my mouth (metaphorically, of course!) on a regular basis. I do things I don’t want to do. I don’t do things I do want to do. My good intentions sometimes turn out poorly. My bad intentions are just that – bad. I drop the ball often and I fail pretty consistently.
Basically, what I’m trying to say is I’m not perfect, which I know is obvious, but it’s been on my mind a lot lately. My shortcomings have been haunting me and in those moments all I can think is I’m not a good person and there must be something wrong with me.
Have you been there? I imagine you have because we all have. It’s part of being a human being with a conscience. Yet, while it’s perfectly human to have the thought “there must be something wrong with me,” it’s unhealthy to stay in that place too long or too often. And constantly questioning whether or not you’re a good person is not healthy either. This is called shame, by the way, and it can be both chronic and chronically destructive.
Brené Brown, the famous shame researcher, says,
“Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.”
Our mistakes do not define us. What defines us is our humanity and I believe it is good to be human. I believe you and I are enough, and we are worthy of love and belonging. Sometimes I lose this belief in the filing cabinet that is my messy brain, but it’s still there. And, eventually, I find it again. Eventually, I remember I am good.
But if I’m enough, why do I need to change?
The truth is, you don’t need to change anything to be worthy. You don’t need to change your body, your mindset, your beliefs, your attitude, your clothes, your level of education, your social status, your relationship status, your economic status or anything else. You are enough exactly as you are, even if you never change a single aspect of yourself.
Where I think the confusion lies is in the belief that personal growth can earn you worthiness. It can’t. Worthiness is fundamental. Change is optional.
Personal growth is the result of believing you are already worthy. Let me repeat that again, personal growth is the RESULT of believing you are already worthy. It’s a choice you make to live more fully as your perfectly imperfect self because you don’t exist for shame’s benefit.
Think of worthiness as rich, fertile soil. If you plant yourself there, you’re going to grow. Regardless of the soil, a rose is still a rose. But in quality soil, the rose grows stronger and healthier and more vibrant.
That’s basically the premise of blossoming. Blossoming into your best, truest self is becoming more of who you really are – it’s opening up into the fullest, healthiest expression of you.
Often our mistakes are ego driven. It’s your false self, not your true self, acting out to try to earn the worthiness you already have. Personal growth is simply dropping the ego. Or, think of it this way, your mistakes are you trying to find your way back to YOU.
That’s the beauty of mistakes. In an odd way, they remind us we’ve wandered too far from our own internal home. They force us to ask ourselves the tough questions: What would I do differently next time? What was my motivation? How can I become emotionally healthier? How did I get here? What would I rather have done instead? What was my contribution? Could I have contributed more, less, better or differently? What need was I trying to meet? What did I learn?
You see, there’s nothing wrong with you if you make mistakes. There’s actually something very right with you. I mean, imagine the utter lack of self-awareness we would have if we were all blissfully perfect. We probably wouldn’t self-reflect, except to constantly remind ourselves how perfect we are. Life would be kind of weird and really boring. There would be no personal growth and no need for me to write this blog, that’s for sure.
We need mistakes, even though we don’t always like the way they make us feel. But we need feelings, too. Feelings are necessary teachers.
You can’t run from your feelings any more than you can avoid mistakes. The key is ownership. Do you own your feelings? Do you acknowledge them and allow them to teach you? Do you own your mistakes? Do you admit to them and learn from them?
Brené Brown also says,
“You either walk inside your story and own it or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness.”
I’m just going to keep saying it because I need to hear it, too: you are already worthy. If you made a mistake, it’s done. It’s over. You can’t change the past, but you can change your future. You can own the mistake, learn from it and move forward. You can sink into the fertile soil of your own worthiness, and you can grow stronger and wiser from every experience.
If you are ready to step into your worthiness and start or re-start your personal growth journey, check out The Get Growing Course.