Dealing with Failure

My goal, again, is to eat sugar in mindful moderation and buy only fair trade.

This past weekend I failed pretty badly. I definitely went beyond what I would call “moderation”. And there was precious little mindfulness involved in the eating. In fact, I hardly stopped to think at all before having that piece of chocolate torte just after breakfast, or those two pieces of cake and that mousse-filled chocolate at the wedding.

I’m finding that I’m pretty good at shutting off my wiser and more mindful self when I know there’s something yummy to be had. It’s like I quickly switch myself to “auto-pilot” when I think my more rational self might stop me from indulging in something sweet. I bet this is true for most people with addictions. And I’m talking about both Addictions with a capital “A”, and those of the lower-key variety.

How do I shake myself out of auto-pilot before it’s too late? Or how do I stop myself from going on auto-pilot in the first place? Maybe it would help me to get back into a daily mindfulness practice. But for now I want to look at how to respond to failures or set-backs.

Feeling Like a “Quitter”

I feel like I have a bad track record of giving up easily. I gave up on soccer after one season. I gave up on piano after one year. Part of the problem, I think, is that I have a strong desire to do things perfectly, so that when I mess up even a little, it just doesn’t seem worthwhile to keep trying anymore. (And perhaps even worse: When I anticipate that I won’t be good at something, I often don’t even try.) I hate to fail. I hate to fall.

Photo by malcolm garret from Pexels

When I knew I was pregnant with my daughter, who is 18 months old now, I started to think about how I wanted to raise her. I decided then that I wanted to help her to look at mistakes in a positive light. I want her to be open to trying even when she knows she will probably fail at first. I want her to have the confidence and freedom to be herself, to express herself, and to try new things without fear.

Maybe it’s not too late for me to live that way either…. And maybe that’s the best way for me to show her how to do the same.

Being Kind to Myself

Even though I fell short of my goal over the weekend and, honestly, several times in the weeks prior, I’m going to choose to look at these as learning experiences. I’m going to love myself despite my mistakes.

I don’t want to loose faith in my goal. And I still believe strongly in my motivation “to enjoy and have a healthy relationship with food, and to minimize any harm done to others by my consumption of luxury foods”. And it’s because of my dedication to the goal I set that I need to be forgiving of my mistakes and set-backs.

Beating myself up and calling myself a failure hasn’t worked for me in the past. It’s bad for my self-confidence and it’s bad for my goals. It’s time to be a wise and kind teacher to myself; to gently guide myself back to my reasons for doing all this in the first place. If I can be a wise and kind teacher to myself, I know I can learn to be the same for my daughter.

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