50 Roads #15 – THE ROAD TO SELF-CORRECTING
(Roads #11-17 are letters to myself for what I wanted to find in therapy – they are filled with questions that I invite you to ask yourself)
I am tired of life correcting me in ways that feel like being dragged behind a truck. I know that the only way to stop this pattern is to correct myself.
I know that in moments when decisions must be made, I have had the tendency to either weigh hundreds of options at once, or simply distract myself, procrastinate or make no decision at all. I have had a tendency in the past to hope for others to make decisions for me. Because I fear making the wrong decision or because the right decision is going to bring uncomfortable consequences.
NOT deciding for myself has caused more need for correction than making the wrong decision ever has. I want to remember that NOT deciding is a decision in itself. NOT moving forward is a decision. And both not deciding and not moving have caused more problems in my life than taking a wrong road could ever dream of causing.
I’ve taken some big risks and gone on some epic adventures, and I know that the more I do and try, the more I will experience the inevitable beginning stages that can be mistaken as failure.
I want to cultivate the consistent courage to make the best decision I can make for myself in every moment, knowing that there will be missteps, missed marks, missed signs and MIStakes. And none of this is failure.
I want to remember what every past move in my life has taught me, whether I aced a stretch in the road, or whether I “wasted” a massive amount of time walking down the wrong road. I have learned all of the most valuable things I’ve ever learned just from moving, and moving, and moving. Even in the stillness, when I am not physically moving – the allowing the thoughts to move forward, the dreams to move forward in my mind and heart — not stuffing them away or holding them hostage to over-analyze them . . . just observing them and letting them move through.
Stagnation, stuffing things away, hiding things and procrastinating has caused the greatest need for correction that I’ve ever experienced. When I do nothing, there is no failure, but there is also no progression.
So the first self-correction I wish to make is my MIStaken belief that it’s better to hide in a corner and play dead than to make a move that might end up needing correction.
The next self-correction I wish to make is to give up any need I might have to ask others what my next move “should” be, or to pay any mind to uninvited opinions about what I “should” do, or how I “should have” done it.
Correction is a quiet and very personal process , between me and my Truthteller. I don’t want to let a mob mentality correct me, because there will be hundreds of different ideas being directed at me for how I can do better if I open up that dangerous door to opinions. We live in a voyeuristic society that has developed an insidious habit of seeing each other as a video game avatar, with a game controller that we often think we know the strategy to help each other “win.” We need to get back into our own lives. I need to get back into my own life.
I want to self-correct by getting quiet and healing everything inside of me to the point of being able to hear my kindest, strongest, clearest and most determined voice telling me how to get back on track. It’s holy and sacred work to correct yourself – it’s not a group project meant for the masses.
Lots of times we all make MIStakes in public. Publicly missing the mark is humiliating and humbling, but not many are willing to try things publicly so I want to remember that those who step up and try things in front of others are brave, a rare group who have the courage to fail in front of a crowd if that’s what it takes. I want to be that kind of person.
I want to remember that coming to terms with mistakes, missed marks and disastrous choices takes tremendous courage and yields lasting respect of self and others. It makes me respect all of life. I respect those heroic enough to try and succeed, to try and fail, and to try and have to come to terms with missed marks. I want to be that kind of person.
The times when I have caused the most trouble in my life and respected myself least are the times when I placed no value in course correction. The people who have caused the most trouble in my life and who I have the least respect for are the ones who place no value in their own course correction.
I don’t want to get self-correction and self-criticism confused. Correction is a loving coach who wants the best outcome. Criticism is harsh and demoralizing and makes a person feel like they’re never going to make it. Correction is a cheering voice saying, “you’re getting there, why don’t you try this next?” I want to remember that encouragement helps massively when combined with correction and is certainly more effective than criticism.
I want to remember that often has felt like the worst and most devastating experience or situation in my life has turned out to be an accelerated course correction – a shortcut. But that it often feels like a giant soul cut.
I want to remember that without correction, it will be a long road to improvement, and that with the right kind of correction and coaching, I can make long strides quickly.
And I also want to remember that sometimes things take a long time to correct and you have to go a centimeter at a time, you have to have patience. Some improvement is a really long game. I want to be patient and stay with it.
I want to remember that recklessness almost always ends in disaster. There are a lot of ways to be reckless and a lot of them look like productivity and progress. I want to pay attention to the pace.
I want to make a daily habit of encouraging, merciful self-correction in my life, while taking ownership for every decision.
As I make decisions and correct my course as needed I want to remember to:
Stand in the chaos without believing the lies inside of it.
Stand in the discomfort without believing the lies inside of it.
Stand in the difficulty without believing the lies about it.
Stand in my place in our human family without becoming bitter, cynical, afraid or addicted to using other’s lives as my guide or my obstacle.
And NOT STAND in one place too long . . . just long enough to learn and then it’s time to be brave and make the next move. To correct the moves as needed, and then move forward again.
Even in the stillness, allow my Truthteller to move, allow my heart to move, allow my thoughts to move. More forward movement is happening in the stillness than I know, if I simply trust the quiet stillness of my own intuition to move me. Sometimes the most holy moving comes in the quietest moments of rest.
I don’t want to make self-correction an addiction. I only want to partake of its potency as needed. Self-correction can become its own loop of procrastination. Keep moving, listen closely, move in the next right direction. Repeat.
Mistakes are lessons.
Falling down when you’re learning to walk is inevitable.
Things are almost always hard at first, and then they get easy.
It doesn’t matter how many times I fall, what matters is that the amount of times I get back up matches my falling down number for number.
I am done seeking out correction from the world. Only I can correct myself in ways that are lasting and whole — and my Truthteller is beside me as a compass. It is my job, it is my choice, and I am up to the task. I am ready.
Radical mercy always,
This Road to Self-Correcting is another one that required a bit of grieving of my youth, a threshold to growing up. I had gotten addicted to opinions and addicted to being corrected by others. This created a loop that had me running in circles of confusion, resentment and cringe-worthy self pity. I had to realize that I was welcoming the opinions and then feeling self-pity over what they brought to the party. What a mess. I am so done with all of that.
So, awesome soul,
Where have you handed the key to your own self-correction to another?
When have you mistaken self-criticism for self-correction?
Tomorrow, we step onto the power-filled Road to Self-Governing. Because no one is the boss of me! And no one is the boss of you! Isn’t that wonderful? (and a little bit scary)
See you there,