We live in a culture where others expect a lot of us and often, we expect a lot of ourselves too. The marketing of self-help books suggests that we can be the person we want to be overnight. Our rushed society means that we put one stress on top of another, giving us the potential for anxiety.
St Francis de Sales is quoted on quotationspage.com and having said,
Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections but instantly set about remedying them – every day begin the task again.
1. Accept that you’re not perfect. It is often our mistakes that help us to grow, learn, and become stronger people. Look for what you can learn when things don’t turn out the way you want them to.
2. Forgive yourself. This is important but not always easy. I often have post-mortems over my mistakes. It made me excellent at professional reflection when I was nursing, but not so great at forgiving myself.
3. Don’t internalize negative feelings – dwelling on feelings of failure will damage your self-esteem which in time will affect your ability to get up and try again.
4. Choose to call it an opportunity, not a failure. I know this is difficult. We used to go to a conference where there were two wonderful American speakers, Paul and Gretel Haglin of Resurrection Christian Ministries. They told a story of their grandchildren on a trip with the family one day when the car broke down. The children got out of the car and the granddaughter skipped in a field near by saying excitedly, ‘We’re going on an adventure!’ They had been taught to see life with all its failures, as an adventure. There was nothing they could do except wait to be rescued so there was absolutely no point getting flustered. I imagine they found amazing things in that field, children instinctively know how to see opportunities – if we let them.
5. Ask yourself why you are flustered, angry, anxious or in a hurry. When our now-grown-up children were young, I found that it helped to keep a journal. Putting things on paper somehow helped to put things in perspective. It doesn’t work for everyone, and when you are already busy it can be hard to find the time to jot things down but for me, it helped. It also helped me to see when my stress levels were getting, or staying, too high.
6. Set yourself realistic goals. My husband, Barrie, and I take time out each week to make a list of those things that we want to accomplish in a week. It’s a useful exercise but until recently, his list was far more realistic than mine. My list was fairly soul-destroying. Sometimes I would use more than a page of a reporter’s notebook and I would be continually moving things over to the next week. For the last few weeks I’ve tried to make my list more realistic and as a result I have actually achieved more.
7. Manage your time. This relates in some ways to point six, above. At one stage, my time wasn’t managed at all. I only succeed in accomplishing the day’s tasks when I set out a plan and allocate time. Meals were my worst area. I would do the main shop without a list because I hadn’t planned meals for the week. Then I would have to de-frost whatever I needed for the meal directly before cooking because I hadn’t planned the evening meal until the last minute. Then I might also have to go to the local shop because I hadn’t bought what I needed. It was expensive, wasteful, and inefficient.
8. Take your time. You don’t have to change your ways overnight. Even if you overtake the car in front there will always be another one – you’ll get there in the end. If you have to drive somewhere, leave plenty of time. Most things don’t need to be completed straight away.