I was at a lovely gathering the other day for Day of the Dead, and had a minor part. As I had gotten the lines a day in advance, and there were only six (and they rhymed, so even better) I decided to memorize. And of course, I flubbed a little bit. It's funny, I can recite things flawlessly on my own when it's not important, but in front of a group sometimes I still freeze.
I work very hard to not be shy, but ultimately, when in a social situation, I am very aware of myself. I dunno if it stems from being on the fringes as a kid, and it just carries over, but especially amongst people I just met or don't know very well, I am pretty self-conscious.
But back to the Day of the Dead. If it had been someone else, who had stumbled on their part, I wouldn't have thought any less of them at all. It occurred to me, looking back (which I do...endlessly if I don't stop myself) that I judge myself way more harshly than I judge anyone else. I will beat myself up over really inconsequential things...stuff I would never consider giving someone else grief over.
There is a fine line between striving to be the best you can be and really being down on yourself for trivial mistakes. Obviously, we all want to succeed at everything we set out to do. Ultimately, there will be little trip ups (and sometimes big failures) along the way. Don't let it get you down! Pick yourself up, and move on. Take a moment to recognize what happened if you like. But make sure you look at the bigger picture.
At the end of the night, we had an absolutely lovely ritual, and any
hiccups in the execution didn't diminish in any way from the beauty of
the gathering and the purpose it fulfilled. I am quite sure that in a month or so, I will probably be the only one who remembers that I stumbled in my part (okay maybe a few others will now that I've rambled about it here *grin). A year from now, it won't make a difference if I had said it perfectly, forgotten it entirely or said the wrong word (for some reason I kept trying to say winter's end when I would practice, not sure why).
After looking at the big picture, step outside yourself for a moment. I can't remember where I read it but someone once said that most people are concerned more about themselves than other people. And I mean that in a good way, not that they don't care about other people, but that five minutes after you embarrass yourself most everyone else will have forgotten (if they were even aware of it in the first place).
Just a quick aside: there are idiots and bastages out there who live to make other people feel bad. These people will go out of their way to loudly and publicly mock you for anything they can possibly make up. They aren't worth the time to respond to, and your real friends won't listen to them anyways, so don't give them the satisfaction of bothering with.
Bottom line is this. Treat yourself with the love and forgiveness you would treat another. Let your stumbles, mistakes and down right failures go with a laugh and a smile. Know that each step you take is a step forward, even if it involves falling flat on your face. It's never as bad as we think it is.