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The Only One Is You

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I was recently at dinner with some friends. When the dishes had been cleared one of them pointed to a few spots on the table cloth in front of her and said, “Look at what a mess I made… you just can’t take me anywhere!”

She was obviously making fun of herself and wasn’t the least bit upset, but if she hadn’t said anything about it, I doubt that any of us would have even noticed. (I told her, “Thank you for pointing that out because we would never have known!”) It occurred to me that often in life we stress out about things that no one knows about but us. (Unless, of course, we take the trouble to point them out!)

Let’s say, for example, that you are in a hurry and you make a mistake with your makeup but you don’t have time to fix it. It doesn’t look bad, it just looks a little different. Uh-oh… you’re not going to look the way you like to look! Think about this: you are probably the only one that will know about the mistake. Now you have a choice to make: you can either get stressed and feel self-conscious about looking that way in public, or you can depend on the fact that you are the only one that knows and just go about your business.

Look at it this way; if one of your friends made the same mistake that you did, do you think YOU would notice it on HER? Probably not and if you did, SO WHAT??

When I am speaking in front of an audience, naturally I want to do the best I can. I used to be pretty tense before a program, concerned that I would make some sort of mistake or leave something out or say something out of order.

Then it happened. I left out an entire story! It never dawned on me that I left it out until it was much too late in the program to slip it back in. I was mortified. Guess what? I was the only one that knew about it! The audience didn’t know what they missed, so I was upset about nothing.

Here’s the point: to avoid unnecessary stress about a mistake or blunder, think about it and ask yourself if anyone will know about it besides you if you don’t bother to point it out. My guess is that they won’t, and that it won’t make a hoot of difference in the long run.


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I grew up with this issue! I would say things like:

"Oh I suck" (For the times I lacked creative inspiration)
"I know I am so bad" (For getting a B)
"I am evil" (for misbehavior EVERY teen makes)
"I hate my body" (For getting above 100 pounds)

It is no surprise that I was (am) a perfectionist! It took a lot of hard work and "re-training" of those old tapes - but I am now almost 30 years old and completely ok with not being perfect (or anywhere near it).

I think what you talk about is one of the most important lessons we all need to learn. We are our own worst enemies, our own critiques. Sometimes I still have to remind myself that no one else may notice my zit or chipped nail, a boss won't judge a small error as much as I do and a friend/loved one will always accept the devil on my shoulder just as much as the angel.

Thank you!

November 17, 2009 - 10:29pm
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