“Oh, I missed the exercise today,” or “I couldn’t complete all the work in the office,” are common self-complaints. We often judge ourselves harshly and miss the real outcome. This strict self-assessment arises from categorizing everything as either ‘YES’ or ‘NO,’ positive or negative, success or failure. However, there’s no need to be so strict and narrow in our assessment. By categorizing our actions strictly as ‘YES’ or ‘NO,’ ‘success’ or ‘failure,’ we often overlook the ‘MAYBE.’ This black-and-white thinking neglects the different shades that color our daily experiences.
Things work differently in real life. There are various shades of success and achievement that often go unnoticed. Take, for example, missing the gym in the evening. You might count it as a failure, but the reason could be that you met a dear friend after almost a decade. Spending time with them is more important, and the gym can wait a day. Each of these actions holds its unique value and shouldn’t be dismissed as a failure.
Consider a work project as another example. If you don’t complete it by the deadline, self-criticism might follow. However, this perspective overlooks the learning and growth experienced during the project. Moreover, think about personal relationships. You might regret not spending enough time with loved ones, viewing it as a personal failing. However, the quality of the time spent can be more significant than the quantity. A single heartfelt conversation can be more meaningful than many hours of distracted interaction.
Whatever you do has its own benefits that can compensate for missed actions. Of course, missing your schedule or targets every time is not a positive sign. However, if you meet most of your deadlines and maintain your schedule mostly, perhaps a few misses should be accepted without remorse.
In conclusion, our harsh self-judgment often stems from a binary view of success and failure. However, real life is filled with shades of success and achievement. When we start to see our actions in this light, we can appreciate the full spectrum of our experiences. As John Steinbeck aptly put it, “And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.” This mindset allows us to grow and learn, transforming our perceived failures into steps toward personal growth and fulfillment.