Monday, October 29, 2018

Gently Reach for Better in Self and Others

Sometimes we beat ourselves up when we err, and sometimes we're impatient and intolerant with others who make mistakes. This does no one any good. What works much better is to be gentle with error in self and others.

Don't just ignore and accept error, instead face error in self and others with care and compassion. For example, let's say you have a challenge that you continually come up against--coach yourself kindly to betterment with a step-by-step plan. Similarly perhaps a colleague, family member, or friend has a persistent error. In that case don't accept that error, but instead kindly approach that person in your midst with words of redirection and acknowledgement that the error is problematic, troubling, and needs to stop. And, know the words, events, and issues that trigger error with regard to your actions and others behavior.

We know this is much easier to write about than to do. Errors, particularly persistent ones are like sores that doesn't go away--those errors can be painful, hurtful, and obstruct the good work and living possible.

As I think of areas of persistent error in myself, I think of that phrase, "You can't teach an old dog new tricks." While I don't believe that phrase, I know that it is more difficult to change a bad habit and correct error the more those habits and errors are ingrained in your behavior.

One of the best ways to work against error is to create routines that move you away from that kind of behavior. Another way is to be upfront about the challenge and enlist the support of others. A third way is to replace the bad habit with a more positive behavior or effort.

Error and bad habits will be part of everyone's landscape as they navigate life. There are errors today that we may not even be aware of, but will come to light later. This is part of life.

As I think about supporting others with regard to error, it's okay to simply use phrases like this:
  • I don't support that kind of language or effort
  • Those words or actions make me uncomfortable
  • Can you explain why you do that because it doesn't seem right or positive
  • Can I help you at this moment as you seem upset, worried, or troubled?
  • You often speak this way or act that way, and that worries me, how can I help you make better choices or do differently--what promotes those unhealthy, unhappy, or worrisome words and actions?
Most people want to do what is right and good, and all people face struggle from time to time with who they are and what they do. I believe we do well when we help ourselves and one another in ways that are truthful, kind, positive, and forward moving, and I want to coach myself in that direction.