When You Let Yourself Down (How To Get Back Up)
We don’t want to admit it, not out loud. We don’t like the way it makes us feel. We grow accustomed in life to handling when another person or situation disappoints us; but what if the person who let you down was yourself? I know that sounds harsh and possibly even cruel. We beat ourselves up way too often as it is. Why add another layer of guilt? My Hopefuls, this is not about guilt, it is about letting go, learning a lesson and turning a page. It is about forgiving ourselves when we mess up.
Maybe it is just me. Maybe I am writing to reach my inner self, who struggles with insecurities, set-backs, wrong turns and bad decisions. But I need to believe, for my own reassurances, that I am not alone in this fight. I want to use my challenges to encourage you to become a better advocate for yourself and a stronger voice in your own life.
Let’s look at a few stumbling blocks and steps we can take to get back in the game and back on track.
Procrastination – “Wait… I’ll finish this one later.” Yes, that’s how easy it is to do. Your intentions are good. You have a plan and maybe even supplies. What you don’t have (or don’t think you have) is time. So, you put ‘it’ off, just one more day/week/month, etc. Whether it is a home improvement/fix, updating paperwork, saving money, helping a friend, volunteering, making amends, organizing the closet, righting a wrong or even pursuing a dream; there are so many things we say we want to accomplish, but never do. That is until time runs out, an emergency happens or we are called out on our delay; but then we rush, cut corners and then make excuses. I don’t know what drives the decision to wait. Part of it might simply be a lazy streak. I also truly believe depression plays a part in the lack of motivation for some. Others mean well and just get caught up in a busy life and just struggle to juggle all the balls. Whatever the reason you have for not handling a situation, determine in your mind to take care of it. Formulate a plan. Take that first step. If you need help, enlist it. If you need motivation, tell yourself how great it will feel to finally check that off your to-do list. Go easy with the self-blame and simply resolve to follow through. Today.
Fear - “I can’t do/handle/finish this.” Fear cuts us both ways. For one, just the fear itself is crippling, but then often we become angry and disappointed in ourselves for having the fear. It makes us feel weak and unable to handle a situation. Because we are feeling bad about ourselves, we hesitate to share our fears with others because of possible ridicule, so we harbor and dwell on it. Maybe we are afraid to stand up to someone who is mistreating us. It could be at work or with a family member or social setting with a ‘friend’. Maybe we are in an unhealthy romantic relationship and we stay for fear of starting over and being alone. We are ashamed at our inability to be our own best advocate. My Hopefuls, please know your worth. Please understand how valuable and unique you are. It is ok to be fearful or unsure about a situation. It is ok to ask for advice and wisdom. It is not ok to do nothing. Trust your instincts. Follow your heart. Do the right thing, even if it turns out to be extremely difficult or unpopular. Believing in yourself and standing up for your values and ideals will develop strength of character and each victory brings a level of bravery that will make the next battle easier. Stay focused and strong on what drives you and makes you happy.
Bad Decisions – Ok, I know I’m not alone on this one. We have all made questionable decisions in our lives. Some we knew were wrong from the beginning. Others were made with good intentions, but not enough thought or research was applied. Whichever the case, we oftentimes find ourselves in a situation dealing with someone or something that causes us stress and irritation. The decision can also cost us financially and emotionally. The first step to recover from a bad decision, is to recognize and acknowledge that one was made. Do not make excuses or blame another; own your part. It does no good to dwell on the mistake, but it is important to take responsibility for it. Next, assess any damage. Can you just walk away from the decision, free and clear? Do you have an obligation to fulfill or monies to pay? Never skip out on the issue because that will only make you feel worse. If the decision caused another to suffer, you may need to make amends and apologize. You will be amazed at the relief that comes from this one step. Take care of the situation the best you can. Learn what to do differently next time. Forgive yourself. Move On.
Being Passive – This is a two-level approach. None of us should stand by and watch injustice or unfairness rule the day. We all need to know what we believe in and would fight for and not live in the shadows hoping the good will win. We must ensure our participation in the battle for the good. The other view of this; we must always do our best. Show up to be great. I know every day will not be your best performance on record. Some days just getting out of bed is a victory. But do not let a few bad days or experiences rob you of joy. Do not sit on the sidelines of your life. Own your place in this world.
As we all work through the disappointments that sometimes come at our own hands, let us all collectively believe that the best is yet to come. We are not defined by our past or our mistakes. We are of great value and we need each other. Our goal today is to dust off the sadness or any remnants of defeat and press onward. And to always…
Hope With Abandon