There are moments in each of our lives when we mess up after we promised ourselves, or others, we wouldn’t ever do so again. We lapse in judgment. We feed a frightful behavior, or break a promise we once thought so easy to keep.
As a result, we kick ourselves. We get disappointed or ashamed. We lose a bit of respect. We put ourselves through the ringer.
It’s here that we could easily deem ourselves a failure. We downed that drink. Lit that cigarette or stuffed that donut in our face. Whatever our vice or demon, we succumbed to it’s temptation or slid back into it’s old destructive habit.
But beating yourself up, or nursing your fuck up, facilitates doubt. It makes you question your sincerity or integrity. It makes you feel ill-equipped or powerless to forces seemingly beyond your control. However, lapse, or relapse, is just that: a “temporary” failure. Instead concentrate on how far you have come. Focus on the journey you have made. Our setbacks are only indicators of the work that still needs to be done. It’s not a time to throw in the towel or admit defeat. It’s a time to accept your current limitations and to push past them. To expect greater of yourself tomorrow than you do today. It’s simply a new goal to attain.
A therapist once told me that a good technique is to retrace your steps. Go back to that moment, relive it, see in what part of your physical being feels distressed and find out what “need” wasn’t met that caused the relapse. Actually talk to that part of your being, find out what it has to tell you, listen to it, feel/hear what it’s trying to tell you, and console it. It sounds out there, but it’s actually a legit technique of Parts Therapy. What you’ll learn is a compassionate and loving way to heal yourself while discovering what you innately need as a person.
“It is here … that love is to be found – not hidden away in corners but in the midst of occasions of sin. And believe me, although we may more often fail and commit small lapses, our gain will be incomparably the greater.” – Saint Teresa of Avila
So when you want to shame yourself for your faults, stop. Step back, and first discover why they exist in the first place. Acknowledge them, learn from them, and give yourself a bit of love.