Last weekend I totally screwed up. For my health I have to avoid certain foods. If I eat those foods (on purpose or on accident, it does not matter, the result is the same) I feel really really rotten. If I eat more of those foods I feel more rotten. So I read food labels and do my best to avoid those foods. And usually I do pretty well.
But then there was last weekend. I was already feeling rotten when I bought something to eat at the airport (because I had accidentally eaten the food I was not supposed to eat the day before at an event). At the airport I thought I read the label and I thought it specifically said the food did not have what I was avoiding. Great! I can eat this, I thought. So I bought the food and I sat on an airplane for a couple hours eating that food. And I ate that food all the way home. And I continued to feel worse and worse. And I could not figure out why I was feeling more and more rotten. And I kept eating that food.
When I got home and was clearing out my bag I happened to look at the package for the food I had been eating all day and, well, there was my answer for why I was feeling rotten. I read the label wrong. In fact, I read the label so wrong that it even said the food contained the exact thing (in bold) I was supposed to avoid. So, I screwed up. And I paid for it for 3+ days. And at first I was really angry with myself and hard on myself about not reading the label and making that mistake. I gave myself a lot of not-so-nice lectures about reading carefully and paying attention and being smarter. And not only did I feel physically rotten but I started feeling mentally rotten too.
Then I remembered if I were my own best friend I would tell myself to be a little bit kinder to myself. I would remind myself we all make mistakes, honest-to-goodness mistakes. And we hopefully learn from those mistakes (like reading more carefully). And we give ourselves a hug, and make a cup of tea, and drink some broth and know that in about 3 days we will feel better again. And that is life.
Have you made a mistake recently? Were you kind and forgiving with yourself? Were you harsh and punishing? Did you learn anything?