Oooops, I screwed up! And while we’re on the topic: 3 steps to being more gentle with ourselves

So I screwed up the free Chat with an IE Pro this past Tuesday. I miscommunicated, sent out the wrong information, and there you have it.

I sincerely apologize.

What can I say? I’m an imperfect human being. Like a lot of us, I’ve been carrying a lot lately so something was bound to fall through the cracks. (BTW, this call will be rescheduled for July 11th…details to come.)

But the difference between mistakes I make these days and the millions of mistakes I’ve made in the past is that I’m starting to love myself for them.

I used to be really good at beating myself up, and I’m still pretty good at it. But more and more, I realize how that hurts not just me but also the people I care about and the people I want to help. So I’m trying something different.

When I mess up, I say so. I acknowledge my mistake. But, rather than feeling guilt, which tends to be an unworkable emotion that doesn’t let me move on, I focus on what happened, allow myself to feel remorse, decide how to make amends to those I’ve let down, and then I let it go.


Next time you think you made a mistake, why not try this:

  1. Acknowledge the mistake. Whether you snapped at someone or ate to the point of discomfort, for just a moment, turn fully toward your perceived mistake and acknowledge it. You might even want to say it out loud or write it down. Don’t pull punches but also don’t embellish.
  2. Take responsibility with gentleness, not aggression. Maybe you were hangry, emotional, or running on empty. You can take responsibility for what happened without flogging yourself. Try saying something like “I take full responsibility for what happened and see how I got there. I will do _______ next time to take better care of myself and those I care about.”
  3. Let. It. Go. You can’t change the past or control the future. But you can decide to make room for your full experience – good, bad, and everything in between – and move on with your life in this moment. The decision to NOT divide yourself into good and bad – one might even say to be unconditionally friendly toward yourself – will help you stay with your experience as it unfolds so that you can respond to situations as best as you can.

Not that long ago, taking this approach would have felt impossible. I must credit my meditation practice – how I train in gentleness above all else – with this transformation. Put simply, from Pema Chodron’s The Wisdom of No Escape:

If we see our so-called limitations with clarity, precision, gentleness, goodheartedness, and kindness and, having seen them fully, then let go, open further, we begin to find that our world is more vast and more refreshing and fascinating than we had realized before. In other words, the key to feeling more whole and less shut off and shut down is to be able to see clearly who we are and what we’re doing.