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When it comes to little failures, have a short memory 😉

One lesson that has helped me to stay married is this: have a short memory for the small stuff.

And somehow, that nugget of wisdom applies to all kinds of little fails and disappointments in life!

To be clear, I’m not suggesting you overlook massive rifts, flaws or dysfunctions in your life and relationships.

What I mean is, when small scale stuff happens that you *could* get worked up about (I’m talking about crumbs on the counter or someone putting your keys where they’re hard to find), intentionally decide to drop it and move on. (I know my husband has had to do this many a time with me too).

The idea here is to let it go not only out of care for your relationships, but for your own energy and sanity.

Coping with your own shortcomings and botched moments in life is no different. I can assure you, no good will come from you holding on to every awkward encounter you’ve ever had or replaying every silly mistake you’ve ever made!

In fact, ruminating on life’s little fails (your own and those of others) is a surefire way to destroy your confidence and relationships. So do yourself a favor and cultivate the habit of brushing off the small stuff.

Check out my favorite ways to let things go with the three empowering actions below.

Quick Confidence Tips for Moving on From Life’s Small Fails:

  1. Mindset: Memorize at least one go-to comeback: When you find yourself wanting to overfocus on a mess-up, try this instead: shrug your shoulders, smile, and simultaneously say, “Sue me!”, “So what?!”, “Big freaking deal!” or my personal favorite, “That’s showbiz, baby!” The idea here is, rather than exaggerate “your crime” by prosecuting it to the fullest extent of the law, you minimize it. Phrases such as “So what?” are a quick reminder to your body and mind that this is not front-page news.

  2. Embodied: Mentally write down your mess up in disappearing ink. Rather than making a mental tattoo of whatever you did wrong (or creating a mental screening room that replays your mess up over and over), try this (you might just feel like a student at Hogwarts!). Close your eyes and picture writing down your mistake in blue ink, in no more than one concise sentence. After writing it, look at it, and watch it slowly, fully, and permanently fade away into invisibility. By the way, I’ve had friends find similar success with writing down their failure and burning it in their fireplace or bbq, never to be dwelled on again.

  3. Interpersonal: Find the funny. I know the last thing you might want to do after making a mistake is laugh. But here’s my challenge to you: Together with a coworker, family member or buddy, find something even a little absurd that you could make light of regarding your mistake. Is the typo you made in that email actually a silly-sounding word? (I once wrote “Dead Michael” instead of “Dear Michael” to a prospect! Oof!) When you reached out to give someone a hug or warm welcome and they hesitated and apprehensively shook your hand back, was that like a funny masterclass on how to give an awkward greeting? Maybe you even told a joke that went over like a lead balloon. Can you and your buddy get even the smallest giggle thinking about people’s confused faces as they tried to ‘find the funny’? When you can find some of the silliness and humor in your error, you can much more quickly own it and move on.

Take comfort in knowing that mistakes are a part of every great story and even the most famous people experience failure. Thomas Edison, Arianna Huffington, Vera Wang, and Stephen King are just a few who have yielded more positives than negatives thanks to their screwups or setbacks.

Every time you have a slipup, it’s proof that you’re human — just like everyone else — and only you can decide what place it occupies in your life. Remember, it takes a powerful person to take themselves lightly!

Have you made a faux pas that really isn’t that serious, but you just can’t seem to let it go? Are you ready to now? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!


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