Autobiography in Five Short Chapters by Portia Nelson succinctly communicates a truth that many of us can only see once we’ve reached the other side of a “problem” - that frustration and mistakes (even repeated ones!) are an essential part of the change we want to create.
Often, upon finding ourselves in a familiar and disappointing situation, our instinct is to respond with anger or shame or guilt. As if berating ourselves is the surest way to encourage movement towards our goals. Thoughts like, “How could I let this happen again?!” are quicker to pop up than internal praise for recognizing a mistake sooner than the last time, or remembering what worked in the past. Human brains (I’m guessing you have one!) thrive on opportunities to practice and master tasks and situations. Mindful efforts to identify progress, even when we’re disappointed with it’s pace, don’t mean we’re letting ourselves off the hook. Rather, truly seeing and appreciating small steps forward can help us make corrections faster the next time we fall into an all too familiar hole.