It’s funny how easy it can be to overlook the faults, shortcomings, and imperfections of others (don’t get me wrong, it can be easy to get caught up on them as well). Over the years, I’ve noticed that it’s easier for me to be compassionate about the little things in others than it was for me to extend that same compassion towards myself. For example, my daughter, my husband, and I are all dyslexic. I’m so supportive and encouraging when it comes to the challenges they face. When my daughter says “for” instead of “so” I remind her of the proper usage and don’t think any differently of her. When my husband forgets the name of the person we just met, I don’t hold it against him. Yet when I did the same things, I would be so hard on myself!
I’d be so embarrassed when I first started blogging a few years ago and I’d later find a mistake that hundreds of people read. Of course, it wouldn’t be a little typo but I’d completely omit words in the post that were in my brain when I wrote it. I’d feel so bad when I bumped into someone I’d met before and the conversation led to exchanging numbers but I couldn’t remember their name. It would be mortifying to ask them to spell their name “to make sure I entered it right” and hear something like “K-I-M”. Somehow my daughter and husband doing those things didn’t seem like a big deal and I’d help them find ways to work around it. But when it was me, I’d feel so stupid.
I had to learn how to start extending myself the same compassion I’d give my daughter, my husband, or anyone else. I’d never think they were stupid because they mixed up a word or forgot someone’s name. Yet me making those same mistakes was a confirmation of what I was told growing up and showed me just how stupid I was. What I decided to do was stop trying to make sure my blog posts were perfect. Instead of editing them 10 times to make sure I caught all of the omitted words and errors, I just started writing in a stream of consciousness and let the words flow. I’d depend on Grammarly to catch my errors and when it didn’t guess what? My imperfection is on display and I learned to accept it (and go back and correct it if I caught it!). It’s not the end of the world. It’s embarrassing sure, but you generously read over it and understand what I meant.
The point is, being hard on myself doesn’t help me in any way. If I let myself be so overcome by embarrassment to the point of shame about my typos, I either never would have started this blog or stopped shortly after someone pointed out my first word omission. I never would have made some of the incredible connections I have if I let myself succumb to the discomfort I feel when I forget a name. Instead of opting out of going to events, I’m honest. When I meet someone new, I let them know that I have trouble remembering names. It’s not because they aren’t important to me, I hardly ever forget a face (seriously I saw someone at the grocery store yesterday who looked really familiar… I saw her once a few months ago in the same nail salon) but I struggle with names especially if I put myself under a lot of pressure to remember them. So I just ask them to be patient with me or help me come up with a word association to help me remember their name.
There are a lot of shortcomings, imperfections, and things I could be hard on myself about. The thing is, I’ve come to realize that it’s not worth making myself feel bad about them. There are some things I can’t change, like being dyslexic but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to work around it. It starts with accepting myself for who I am, imperfections and all and learning how to embrace it and move forward with grace and self-compassion. I know it can be easier said than done but it’s a practice. I’m better at it in some areas than others and some days than others. But at the end of the day, it’s a whole lot easier to find a way to move forward by giving myself the same love and understanding I’d give my daughter, my husband, or anyone else.
Sending lots of love your way,
Formerly ashamed of my imperfections turned student of embracing imperfection and life coach