Messing Up

On Friday, I was at the store with my mom and sister-in-law. We were having a good day, and I was happy. It’s not rare for me to be happy, but it is rare for me to be relaxed. And I was calm on Friday. I wasn’t thinking about the future much. I wasn’t obsessing about anything. I was simply enjoying the day. Then, I got a call from my advisor. Somehow, I managed to forget this week was the start of my next class. I could blame the road trip we’ve been planning. It would be easy to blame my mistake on the laundry and the packing. But, the truth is, I just forgot. Plain and simple. If I had opened blackboard (my online classroom) any one of the times I’d been on the computer this week, I would have remembered.

For the rest of the day and until earlier today, I was frustrated. It upset me that I let myself forget such an important thing. Even though the assignment I got a zero on won’t affect my final grade all that much, I was mad at myself. It’s frustrating when you have complete control over something and you manage to screw it up.

This week my advice is something I still tell myself, often. Everyone makes mistakes. You are not worthless because you aren’t perfect. Nobody is perfect. Even the people who seem perfectly put together make mistakes. In the end, we all do the best we can.

Because of my self-hatred, I wasn’t very nice to the people around me the last couple days. I treated the people closest to me like they somehow caused my bad mood. I of course didn’t realize this until earlier today, but I was awful to them. Once I realized this, I wondered why. The first answer that came to mind was that I subconsciously wanted to spread my bad mood. But, that kind of thinking comes from the part of me who doesn’t like herself very much. I think the part of my that is self-deprecating and self-conscious gave that answer. The second thing I thought came from something my therapist taught me. She said there’s something that happens to people when they’re upset. She told me to picture a cat when they’re hissing and their hair stands up on their back. They’re ready for a fight. But, the reason they do that is to protect themselves. It comes from fear. People do this when they’re vulnerable as well. She referred to it as having “your firefighter’s out”. It means, in a way, that you’re protecting your emotions. I think that’s what caused me to be so mean the last couple days. I was protecting myself from feeling any worse, I think. I was ready for a fight because my guard was up. I was expecting the fire, so my firefighters were out. I didn’t explain this as well as my counselor did because I don’t remember it all that well but I hope you get the point.

Don’t be so hard on yourself. Forgive yourself when you mess up. It’s difficult to let yourself be human, I know. We all want to hold ourselves to an impossibly high standard. But, I urge myself and anyone reading this: forgive yourself for not being perfect. We weren’t meant to be perfect. Whatever you believe in, you must believe perfection wasn’t “the plan”. All we can do is try our best. If we do the best we can, whenever we can, I think that’s the point. So, mess up. Be imperfect. Try. Forgive yourself. Be human.

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