Learning From Mistakes but Not Allowing it to Hold Yourself Back

This article struck me on “self-compassion.” Here is a snippet:

Many would jump to the conclusion that academic excellence is bolstered by self-esteem, which can certainly help. But there’s a dark side to focusing solely on helping your child boost his or her self-esteem (as you’ll see in a second).

The better way forward? Focus on teaching your child self-compassion.

University of Texas psychology professor Kristin Neff, author of Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourselftold KQED that self-esteem is about value:

Self-esteem is a judgment about how valuable I am: very valuable, not so good, not valuable at all. In contrast, self-compassion isn’t about self-evaluation at all. It’s about being kind to oneself. Self-compassion is a healthy source of self-worth because it’s not contingent and it’s unconditional. It’s much more stable over time because it’s not dependent on external markers of success such as grades.

So am I saying we should teach children to not care about grades? Not at all. It’s a matter of whether your child sees grades as the ultimate end goal or a positive side effect of embracing the learning process.

Neff says most of us motivate ourselves through self-criticism. Your child is aware of the consequences of failing that test. But the side effects of this approach are perfectionism, a fear of failure, and even procrastination because the fear of not measuring up can be paralyzing.

Although it is meant to focus on children and parenting, couldn’t we all do this better?  The part in the article where it shares to help children to “encourage them to support themselves as they would a friend” hit me especially hard. I can be tough on my friends, but I can be horrible to myself.

As I read this, I thought of how we need to teach ourselves to hold ourselves accountable and learn through moments of our failings but also not to let it stop us from moving forward.

I will have to digest this more, but you can read the full article here. 

Explore Dream Discover

Scroll to Top

Changing the Trajectories of Those We Serve​

Join over 40,000 Educators who already get the Newsletter