Screwing Up Can Make You Happy
What does screwing up have to do with being happy? Maybe because I have screwed up a lot (A LOT) I feel like I’m an expert of sorts in this area because I am still happy. Now, don’t get me wrong. I didn’t always feel this way. I was an unhappy screw-up for a very long time before I turned the corner.
I thought I needed money, a great job, a great body and a bunch of other “stuff” to be happy, and of course I thought I needed to do everything right, to truly be happy.
Man, was I ever wrong.
Trying to be perfect kept me stuck, unmotivated and definitely NOT happy. Can you relate to any of this?
I looked to the people in my life who were happy and none of the people I admired actually had any accumulation of “stuff.” At least not stuff noticeable to the naked eye. And none of them seemed to care about being “perfect.” In fact, one of the happiest people I can think of is my sister, Joanie who often times laughed off her mistakes. I use to say she could have only 2 cookies left in her cabinet and a half a glass of milk and she would throw an awesome party. That was because she didn’t have much, but her happiness was infectious. You just wanted to be around her.
I wanted to be one of those people, like my sister, but I thought since I constantly kept screwing up, I could never be happy. There was a time I couldn’t consistently get to the gym, keep my weight in check, go for a span without feeling anxious and depressed and the list goes on and on. Don’t even get me started at how bad a mom I thought I was! I didn’t think I could be happy until I got it all taken care of and “perfect.”
I want to share one of the secrets that changed my mindset and helped me create more happiness in my less-than-perfect life.
Cultivating Accountability Instead of Self-Loathing
One of the most important things for me was to learn to be accountable for my actions without going down the rabbit hole of self-loathing. Accountability without beating myself up was a new concept for me.
What does it look like?
It is saying what needs to get said and then getting done what needs to get done. Let me give you an example from my own life. Today, I was supposed to go for a run and it was supposed to be a moderately hard run in my training. There was a section in my run where I was supposed to run for 25 minutes at a hard pace. Well, I got to the 20 minute mark and my head started wandering. Negative thoughts started flooding me. I was struggling. I have worked hard on keeping my focus for a long time now, but it wasn’t working and I gave up with just 5 more minutes to go. My old mind would have just been miserable for the rest of the day beating myself up over what didn’t get done. But instead I was able to say, “Toni, you didn’t get it done. You let your mind wander and forgot to remember that you need to stay focused. Take this lesson and learn from it and get your sh*t together for next time.” Then I went home and moved on. That is the kind of accountability I am talking about.
What does this have to do with positivity and happiness? There are 4 key elements this situation highlights, and I want to share them with you because it is in the small moments that we learn what we need to create happier lives that keep us moving forward.
- I did not make excuses. I assessed the situation and admitted, “I gave up.”
- I made a plan of action for next time. It would have been better if I acted, right then and there, but I didn’t. Sometimes this happens and we have to learn how to evaluate our mistakes and still move forward. Fortunately, I have many moments now where I can just keep moving forward in the moment and with practice you can, too.
- I forgave myself for not being perfect. I didn’t beat myself. I saw my mistake. I moved on. When all else fails, remember to forgive yourself.
- The truth hurts. I screwed up. I survived. I will get another opportunity to get it right.
These small steps can create more positivity and happiness in your life.
What would it be like if you could hold yourself accountable today? What area of your life do you need more accountability?
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