I have been to 2 conferences in as many weeks. One was informative and fun, the other was inspiring and amazing and fun. The conference this week was in Branson, MO at the Chateau on the Lake resort. There were 16 states represented there and hundreds of ladies involved. I asked my roommate what inspired her most, and she said, “I have to stop being so lazy.” How is that an inspiration?! Another said she had to get to work and quit being fearful. Another said, “I just wish I could have more confidence in myself.” This doesn’t sound inspired. I thought to myself, “I cannot let circumstances beyond my control put limits on my thinking and activity.” All of these statements are negative. To review, the quote was: “You can’t hate yourself happy, you can’t criticize yourself thin, and you can’t shame yourself worthy. Real change comes with self-love and self-care.” And yet, we expressed our inspirations in precisely those terms. We criticized ourselves, we shamed ourselves, and we hated ourselves for our past short comings.
What we should have done was couched those changes in a positive manner! Instead of saying she should stop being lazy, she would think, “I need to see opportunity everywhere and act on it immediately!” Instead of wishing away the fear, she would think, “What’s the worst that can happen? I will work in spite of my discomfort, because each time I succeed, I get less fearful.” The 3rd lady would have thought, “I will endeavor to be BOLD!” instead of wishing for more self confidence. I will think, instead, of being resourceful enough to think and act regardless of circumstances. We all need to look for the positive aspects in our futures instead of reacting to the negatives in our past. I think the most crippling thought process we have is that every failure, every mistake, every misstep is considered a character flaw. It seems that every individual act puts us in a box. It categorizes us as something less than perfect and sets the description as a permanent flaw that you should be aware of, as should all of humanity, for your own good. If you are proud of an accomplishment, you are a narcissist. If you are not proud of an accomplishment, you have false modesty. If you play a B flat instead of a B, you are inattentive, lazy bum that never practices and will never amount to much in the music world. If you miss a sale, you are hopelessly incompetent. If someone quits, it’s your fault. If every time you say or do something, you are categorized, put into a box and mailed to the appropriate agency to get you fixed, do you do or say anything?
It’s time we realize that mistakes and accidents happen. They wouldn’t be mistakes and accidents if they could be avoided by seeing into the future and analyzing every single thought and word and deed before they became a permanent description of our inadequate character. Humans are sinful, flawed creatures. They’re supposed to make mistakes and have foibles and short-sighted decisions. Those are reflections on our nature, but not our character.
So in conclusion, when I eat something I shouldn’t or don’t go to the gym or take a walk when I should, it’s not a character flaw. It’s a decision that I consciously make and one I will have to make in the future. Which means, the next time I have to make this decision, I can choose the right one.