Today I want to share something personal. For a long long time I thought that being wrong was something that made me less of a good person, less smart, less kind, less everything. I was afraid of being wrong or doing something wrong because I took it as a sign that something was not right with me, that I could or should do better. Thinking like that made me take others comments, failures and criticism directly to heart and making me feel less worth. It took me years – decades – to discover that being wrong has nothing to do with what you are worth! Yes, being wrong can make us feel bad, sad and angry. It can make us doubt our way and our choices. But that’s also a good thing – right?
There are days and situations that make me think, at least for the first few moments: “How could I think that?”, “How could I be so stupid?”, “Why didn’t I think of that sooner?”, “How could I miss this?”. Then I feel like a failure and stupid. But what I learned is to accept this feelings of inadequacy and thank them and let them pass. When I will myself to do this it makes me thankful for showing me how we all can be wonderfully wrong at times and that seeing this opens up so so many new ways of thinking! Don’t make these moments of being wrong about your inner worth, they are amazing opportunities to see things, people and situations in a new light. I learned the most when I was proven wrong, when I just had to think in new ways.
Just a few days ago I encountered such a situation. I did some research on courses I wanted to take within the next few months, made appointments with institutions and prepared myself beforehand on the pros and cons of the course, the method of teaching and so on. I was dead set in my thinking that this would be a decision between who had the better terms (cost, starting date, certificates,…). During the drive to Vienna I reminded myself not to make judgements before the end of the day, before I heard all of the persons I would meet, but I was still sure that it would be a simple decision for one of the courses. Well, on my drive home I was stunned and my brain worked on full speed. I had to laugh at myself for being so sure that it would be a decision between one or the other. It hat never occurred to me that maybe these courses would be totally different and that I might decide to just take both at different times. I was proven wrong in my thinking – again – and I am sooo utterly thankful for it. I often think of situations in an “either – or” way and totally miss the point that this could be an “and” situation. It was no big deal this time, the realization did not make me sad or angry and it certainly did nothing to my feeling of self worth. But it made me see once again that not everything has to be this way or that. It can also be both, just at different times.
Well, somedays I still feel bad for not knowing, for being wrong – especially when the situation feels grave. There are days when I am faster at being grateful for new insight, for a new perspective and then there are days when I feel in the dumps after a comment from someone or a project not turning out the way I wanted it. On these days I have to slooooowly pick myself up from the place of self shaming and blaming, do my mantra on self worth and use the input I got to gain new strength. We HAVE to be wrong sometimes to discover new ways, we have to be wrong so that we don’t get stuck in old habits! Don’t get me wrong on this – it’s good to have habits. But discovering new ways of thinking makes life all the more colorful.
So don’t beat yourself up for being wrong sometimes or getting criticized by others. Be angry, sad or whatever you feel at that moment, thank it and let it go. See what you can make of this new insight. Can you use for your growth like “I can see that I did something/thought something wrong. I will try to do it differently next time. Life will go on.”? What I can tell you, is that there’s a big difference in DOING something wrong and thinking that you ARE wrong. I will try to hold my self worth above everything else and see opportunity – not failure – in situations that don’t go as planned. I hope you can too, because we are worth it.