What to tell yourself when you screw up
There’s a part of you that will resist this message.
It’s the part of you that will puff up your head and make you thump your chest with pride, cause you to brag and boast of how great you are, compare and tell you you’re better than everyone else.
Ironically, it’s the same thing that tells you you’re worthless and loathsome, a loser and an idiot, that you’ll never amount to anything.
This part of you — the ego — is not to be vilified; only recognized, observed, and understood by the real you, the I Am, that which is aware of the ego’s thoughts. The ego is only trying to help you. It is simply incapable of comprehending pure truth, so it acts from incomplete knowledge.
When you screw up, whether it be botching a work project, telling a lie, running a red light and causing an accident, forgetting a birthday, indulging in pornography — any mistake at all, especially one you tend to repeat over and over again — the ego tells you to beat yourself up. You are a bad person and you deserve to be punished. In fact, the only way you will ever get it is through self-flagellation. You have to berate yourself into submission.
If you don’t, the ego argues, you will never learn. You will let yourself go. If you give yourself an inch, you’ll take a mile. You’ll degenerate into lust and greed, following pleasure wherever it leads. No discipline, willpower, or conscience.
The ego knows itself well. It knows how true that is — because that’s exactly what it wants to do. It is, paradoxically, both a drill sergeant and a couch potato.
Self-shame is nothing but the ego talking to itself in a desperate attempt to resolve its own contradictions and live with its own hypocrisy.
But you are not the ego. You can transcend its fear, cravings, and delusions. You can opt out of its damaging self-criticism game and play from a more useful and healthy place.
Here’s how: The next time you screw up, look into your eyes in the mirror, smile warmly, and say, “I love you. You are so amazing. You are so worthy of love, patience, and forgiveness. You are the most lovable being in the universe. You are so good. You are so precious.”
The ego will tell you this is selfish and self-indulgent, that it’s nothing but rationalizing and justifying your behavior. And that’s actually true, if it’s the ego talking to itself.
But you’re not talking from or to the ego. You are the I Am reminding yourself that you are the I Am. You are learning to act from who you are by speaking to who you are, the essence of which is pure, unconditional love.
Love has no evil desires and therefore has no need of either willpower or self-shame.
Becoming who you were born to be is simply coming home to who you have been all along. It is not gaining, earning, or striving to achieve anything — it is releasing, letting go, shedding the false illusion of self that is the ego.
The ego resists this message because when the I Am awakens, the ego loses power — it is literally fighting for its life.
Since the ego likes proof, here’s another nail in its coffin: Many research studies prove that, as contrasted with self-critical people, self-compassionate people
- Feel greater motivation to make amends and avoid repeating moral transgressions.
- They are more motivated to improve personal weaknesses.
- They are more likely to take responsibility for their past mistakes.
- After not meeting goals, they’re more likely to set new goals for themselves.
As researcher Dr. Kristin Neff says,
“Self-compassion is not the same as being easy on ourselves. It’s a way of nurturing ourselves so that we can reach our full potential.”
Not only does beating yourself up simply not work, but it also buries the essence of who you are.
No matter what you’ve done, you are amazing. You are worthy. You are lovable.
Tell yourself that every time you screw up, and your worthy, amazing, perfect essence will emerge.