You can always choose again, maybe not this time, but next time.
So many of us beat ourselves up for making poor choices, but it almost always takes multiple screw-ups before we’re able to make the wiser choice.
Recently I was working with a client who was extremely frustrated with herself for making a particular bad choice over and over again.
We’ve all done this.
And, you know what? It’s a part of the process of change.
At first we make tend to make our poor choices with little awareness. Either we don’t understand the potential consequences/risks or our desire for short-term gratification completely overshadows the potential consequences/risks.
At some point though we begin to notice that we have a problem:
“Whenever I do X—sleep with my ex, eat a half pan of brownies, blow $1000 on shoes, etc.—I feel like crap.”
This is a turning point.
It’s also the point in which we may start to really beat ourselves up for making the same bad choices even when we know what the outcome will be and we are sick and tired of feeling like crap.
It's difficult to watch ourselves make the same unfulfilling choice when we are doing it with awareness.
But this is just the stage in the change process where your awareness has increased but your ability to make a different choice isn't quite there. It feels bad, but it’s the precursor to the stage where we stop making the poor choices altogether.
The key to navigating this part of the change process is the practice of self-compassion and forgiveness. When you recognize where you're at in the change process, you can say to yourself, "don't give up, I'm almost there!".
You're not failing, you're just in the midst of the process. It's all good.