Friday, January 15, 2010

The Bank of Love

Dearest Readers,

The other day I heard a man talking about making mistakes. He had just read a recovery-oriented book and was greatly helped by what it had to say. One particularly meaningful passage for him described how to "capitalize" mistakes by overcoming them.

I like this. In this context, capitalize means "realize" or "convert into capital". What is capital? Assets. Wealth.

During the course of the Big O Project (my new name for the project I'm working on for the 2010 Olympics), I have made many mistakes. Like, a lot. A big lot. At one point in my life these mistakes would have devastated me. I probably would have given up. Or, at the very least, brooded for days. Mistakes, for the perfectionist, are acutely painful.

Today, as a recovering perfectionist, I have a different attitude. The old pinch can still be felt so it's not quite water-off-a-duck's-back but I am aware now. I am aware of my Old BS (Old Belief System) that tells me if I can't do it perfectly it shouldn't be done, or that I'm bad or worthless or stupid.

I'm also aware of a New Approach, similar to the one described above. I can react differently. I can choose a different path. I can say to myself, "I made a mistake. It's okay," and I can move on.

We are allowed to make mistakes! What a concept. How important, how vital to our collective well-being, is this statement! Perfectionist culture perpetuates nothing but shame and self-loathing. It says, "You're not good enough," and we buy in.

Apparently, next weekend in this town where I live there is a protest against our current Prime Minister and his decision to prorogue Parliament. Just between you and me, I'd rather march against perfectionism.

So how do we turn mistakes into assets? How do we capitalize upon them? How do we use them for personal wealth? By learning from them. By doing things differently the next time and not beating ourselves up in the first place. By sharing our experience with others so that they might avoid the same situation. By having compassion with our less-than-perfect friends, colleagues, and fellow beings.

These tools are capital for the bank of our individual and collective well-being. It's the best kind of investment we can make and the interest rate is sky high.

Inspiring Message of the Day: I'm allowed to make mistakes. If I make a mistake, I will acknowledge it, tell myself it's okay, and move on. From this I gain personal wealth in the form of self-love.

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