Amanda Johnson

Love the life you have and have the life you want

Being Mindful Doesn’t Mean Not Making Mistakes

21 Comments

Have you ever gotten frustrated with yourself for not being as calm and centered as you would like to be?

I have. Quite a bit.

I often forget that mindfulness is not just another thing to “get right.” Somehow I get it in my head that just because I practice presence that means I will always behave in a mindful way. That I can “master” mindfulness. No pressure or anything.

But Eckart Tolle reminds us that as soon as we notice we are not being present, we are present. That is the whole point.

Mindfulness is an ongoing, lifelong exercise in reminding ourselves to be in the present moment. This will happen over and over and over again.

And the more often I can remind myself that my mind is focused more in the past or future and not on what is happening in the moment, the more I strengthen my mindfulness muscle.

Head in Hands

As a recovering perfectionist and over-achiever, I really want to “master” mindfulness. I somehow think that once I “figure it all out” I will always act in a mindful way. No stress, no resistance, no attachment, pure bliss, above being human.

Well, that’s not how it works.

I am human — even the Dalai Lama “makes mistakes” and is a lifelong student of mindfulness. Just because I have learned how to be more aware and experience a higher level of consciousness than I did, say, two years ago does not mean that I still don’t make mistakes.

Being mindful is not about being perfect. Being mindful is about being in each moment as often as possible, showing compassion to myself and others as often as possible, and fully experiencing my life situation as it is as often as possible.

For some of us, it might be helpful to be reminded that we are not superwomen and supermen. Though it can be easy to think that sometimes.

The path to enlightenment has twists and turns and roots and rocks and many stumbling blocks along the way. It’s not about avoiding the pitfalls; it’s about staying on the path in spite of them.

When we choose to practice presence, this does not mean we aren’t still human and make mistakes. If you find yourself forgetting that you are an imperfect human like the rest of us while on your path to more peace and ease in your life, gently remind yourself of these things:

All you can do is do your best.

And remember that “best” is not “perfect.” Imagine if each of us were more mindful just 10% more of the time. It doesn’t have to be 100% (and in reality won’t be) to make a positive difference.

Be compassionate.

Love yourself for being bold enough to try. Being mindful isn’t always comfortable. Failure is not an indicator of a lack of ability — it is a reminder of where our current limitations are and an opportunity to grow.

Pick yourself up and try again.

When you catch yourself judging or resisting or attaching to what is (or was or might be), give yourself a little grace for even noticing this (that’s already a huge step!) and then try again.

We can all strive to be more mindful in our lives while accepting that we are merely human. Mindfulness does not have an end date of completion. There is no certificate or title to achieve. This means we get to work on it each and every day for the rest of our lives. And the mistakes we make along the way are simply opportunities to learn more about ourselves and continue to grow.

How have you noticed yourself trying to “master” personal growth? Join the conversation by leaving a comment below.

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Author: Presence Matters

Amanda Johnson has one mission: to help people turn their critic into their ally so they can love the life they have and have the life they want. She does this through her work as a writer and presence coach. After years of struggling with depression, motivation and finding any purpose, Amanda made a choice to transform her experience of life. She realized that when she resisted, judged or attached to “what is” she suffered and that this is true for all of us. From this place, the idea to help others cultivate ease and joy through “Presence Matters" was born. Amanda is a seasoned professional with more than 10 years’ experience performing, educating, facilitating and consulting for Fortune 500 companies with the personal mission to reach and change lives for the better. Her passion for helping others—be it a 2nd-grader or a CEO—and her ability to connect with and inspire those she meets are unleashed by her wit, charm, and eloquence, making her message resonate deeply with her audience. For more information and to work with her, visit www.amandajohnson.tv.

21 thoughts on “Being Mindful Doesn’t Mean Not Making Mistakes

  1. Reblogged this on Happiness, Health and Hypnosis and commented:
    Mindfulness is an amazing way to work on all sorts of issues, from social anxiety to eating disorders, but like everything else – it takes practice.
    For perfectionists, this can be one of the hardest things to accept – that you’re not perfect at it straight away.

    Like

  2. 🙂 hehe, thanks for linking. Oh dear how I see myself in this!! I am quite the perfectionist myself but as you say, giving it my best doesn’t mean it’ll be perfect. It is simultaneously upsetting and relieving to accept and embrace your humanness…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for sharing! I totally agree with your assessment on embracing our humanness … a little bit of “argh” and “ahhh” all at the same time 🙂

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  4. I can so relate to this at this point in my life. I’m such a perfectionist and now I’m really kind of learning that all I can do it my best. Not being perfect at something doesn’t mean being a failure! Great post 🙂

    navigatingyourcrossroads. wordpress.com

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Amanda,
    thankfully I have long since given up trying to be perfect at anything. It takes time but eventually you can learn about the law of diminishing returns and accept that things are ‘good enough’. Unfortunately most of those who use mindfulness to combat depression forget this far too often.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great reminders Amanda! Boy do I relate as a recovering perfectionist, who still tends to want to get it right! 🙂 But as you mentioned, being mindful is more about paying attention than having to express a certain way. And my practice has included a lot more gentle acceptance, “I love you”s, and compassion this year. blessings, Brad

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I really needed this post. I have had such a stressful week in my personal life and allowed so much to get on top of me that I was not handling things very well which in return made me feel disappointment in myself (and even worse).

    Thank you for sharing. I shall read this blog a few times as there is so much content to help me.

    Sara

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    • Thank you so much for following along and sharing your thoughts, Sara! It is comments like this that remind me why it is so important to spread the message so many of us are trying to spread. So grateful that these words spoke to you today and look forward to seeing more of you!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. In addition to staying in the present moment, mindfulness is about watching your thoughts and emotions. So experiencing frustration is an opportunity to note it, check the thoughts that brought it on and follow the trail of thoughts to the belief that produces the frustration in a consistent manner. Then you can examine the belief, decide it is not right for you and the frustration will dissipate.

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  9. Being a perfectionist & an overachiever as well it’s a task to me mindful. I find myself asking myself is this worth my energy OFTEN when I begin to feel anger. I’ve “mastered” the step of acknowledging that I need to remember to be mindful of my words & thoughts. I feel a very positive about that growth. I now seek to completely avoid the feeling of anger as much as I can. For the sake of my health, my baby in my tummy, & for my mental stability. My biggest goal is to make the process like breathing vs more of a thing I need to constantly think of. As I reach that level I can label that as AMAZING personal growth for myself.

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    • Thank you for your comment and for sharing the post! What a great journey you are on! Something I am also learning and needing to practice often is that feeling an emotion (like anger) is not inherently bad. It is typically a visceral reaction we have to something and can sometimes even serve as a warning mechanism for us. It is when we allow our thoughts to then turn the initial visceral feeling into something much worse and, ultimately, into suffering. I am learning to acknowledge the feelings I have and remain an observer of them rather than getting lost in them.

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  10. Reblogged this on journey2change and commented:
    This journey2change I am on is a roller coaster. There are ups and downs, good days bad days. Recently been going through a personal struggle but reading this blog post really helped me. I hope it might help you or a friend. Its hard sometimes to remember to be compassionate towards ourselves too! Always, Stop and Think, What do you think? Sara

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