How many times have you had an embarrassing situation make you want to retreat and hide under the covers? We’ve all been there. I came across a story about Katy Perry having quinoa in her teeth during an award show. Could you imagine? But instead of making it a big deal, she made light of the situation by living in the moment and joking about the fail.
It made me think: there’s something to be said for laughing things off after an embarrassing moment rather than negatively dwelling on what’s already happened. In order to do this, we need to realize there’s a difference between a fail and a failure. A fail is embarrassing, a failure is defeating. A fail is a mistake, a failure is the last move. You haven’t truly failed unless you’re so busy dwelling you stop trying all together. Everything else is just a fail – a lesson learned.
If you’re a perfectionist like me, living in the moment and laughing off fails can sound like a nice gesture, but much harder to practice. Trying new things and conquering new territory involves a higher possibility of getting things wrong. Instead, us perfectionists can sometimes linger in familiar territory where fails are mitigated and control is more likely. But if we only do things we’re certain we’ll do well, haven’t we already failed to grow in new areas?
As perfectionists, we’re always trying to anticipate what may happen next in order to avoid mistakes. If something goes wrong, it needs to be dissected and analyzed so that nothing like it happens again. While this can be helpful in some situations, it can also hold us back from letting go of the small details. We can become so preoccupied with what went wrong, we stop chasing new opportunities. Or, we wait for the perfect opportunity to present itself to us. But there are no perfect moments around the corner. We have to take what’s in front of us, create what we want and learn along the way.
To our defense, social media doesn’t help with the matter. There’s a lack of authenticity portrayed online that we feed ourselves. It’s a seemingly perfect world where mistakes aren’t flaunted very often. It’s always available and fuels our strive for unrealistic standards of perfection.
Even though everyone’s Instagram feed may always look perfect, happy and fulfilling, we know those are small moments. Living in the moment in real life can be messy; it’s fast-moving and imperfect.
living in the moment is imperfect
Sometimes we need to embrace the small fails to see how they fit perfectly into the bigger picture. As long as we’re trying, we’ll be failing – and that doesn’t mean we’ve failed. Because the only thing worst than having quinoa in your teeth for a photo is not showing up for the photo at all.