Rashional Thoughts: Learning to move past those moments we disappoint ourselves

Have you ever cringed after seeing a photo or video of yourself? Or wish you could take back something you shared publicly?

How about those questions you were asking a co-worker because you were trying to understand but the tone came across as scolding or accusatory? And he or she got offended in the process.

Or maybe you didn’t account for how exhausted you were and took something personally another person said innocently in passing.

And then there are the moments we aren’t as prepared for a presentation or report as we should be because we overcommitted to other activities and stretched our time too thin.

Any or all of these situations can be embarrassing, frustrating and discouraging. I’ve even noticed how experiencing an off day — a time when I’m less than my best — can change my personality.

I might seem sad, down or even hurt and it’s likely because I’m disappointed in myself. I’ll play the scene over and over again, kicking myself for the one or two obvious tweaks that would have changed the outcome for the positive.

And sometimes I can shift from disappointment to being angry with myself — knowing I know better and can definitely do better. Why didn’t I?

Look ahead, not behind

In most cases, I did know better and should have put my best self forward, but for whatever reason, I didn’t.

What I’ve learned over the years of making these kinds of mistakes is that sitting too long in a pity party or depressed state only creates difficulties for us and those around us.

You know what I mean, right? A family member, friend or co-worker loses that normal spark of joy and seems upset about something, but we don’t know what it is and we start thinking through our recent interactions to see if we might have said or done something to upset him or her.

We spend emotional energy trying to read the situation, make right what we might have caused and/or encourage the person in hopes of cheering him  or her up.

So beating up on ourselves too long ends up taking down others around us and quite possibly leads them to start avoiding us because we can’t seem to move past the incident.

For me, I typically need about two days to grieve the mistake, failed attempt or embarrassing moment, and then I work hard to accept what has happened and learn from it.

A mentor helped me understand “what’s done is done” and we can’t change the outcome no matter how hard we wish we could. However, we can grow from the situation, specify the areas that need improvement and get to work toward a better outcome next time.

Those who know us well should know when we look, act or sound out of character — and whether they mention it or simply move on, their decision to show grace, love and kindness is what will help us demonstrate the same action toward ourselves.

Share your stories of holding tight to the hope found in Jesus Christ, how God is working in your life

How are you doing with the start of the Christmas season? Is it the one you’ve dreaded because someone is missing this year? Is it hard because of the circumstances surrounding you right now?

Know we care and would love to chat if you feel up to sharing. Our number is 800-803-5201, and we are around the phones Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

We also have various resources to recommend if you need ideas for how to adapt traditions or start new ones.

If the holidays this year happen to be among the best ever for you, we’d love to hear about those as well. It brings us all joy to sense those sparkles of excitement.

Along with personal stories, share how you are seeing God move in your family, your community and your church.

And as you spend time in reflection during this Advent season, look for how God is working in your life and how the Holy Spirit is conforming you more and more into the image of Christ.

No matter the range of emotions we encounter right now and how those most certainly will change from year to year, we all can hold tightly to the promise of hope found in Jesus Christ.

He is with us through every season, and we know He has come and He will come again.

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