Shame and Perfectionism

I seem to make a lot of mistakes that others think are common sense. Honestly, in hindsight, I don’t know if they are right. And when my mistakes make me get in trouble at work and make me question my integrity, I feel a lot of shame. I’m still cringing at the though of my error from a couple months ago or so. I do try getting away with things sometimes because others do. So when I inadvertently do something wrong, I will worry that non-consciously I was just being an ash-hole again. I don’t know if I’m even expressing my feelings well. I just wanted to vent, so thanks.


We all make stupid mistakes, and most of us beat ourselves up over it. Between forgetting things, missing details, and even getting tongue-tied, I get to wondering if I’m having problems with cognitive decline. Then I think back a few years to when my dad had a full battery of tests done for the same reason and they told him he’s just disorganized, which we all pretty well knew. I, like him and so many others, overthink and catastrophize when we mess up.

If it’s a question of integrity, your mistakes don’t define that. Mistakes are not a reflection of your character, but choosing to learn from them is. Taking shortcuts because others do reflects your integrity, but it’s a matter of what you can live with. In my world of creating manufacturing drawings, I know that the many hands building the things won’t get them perfect; so the better my designs and drawings are, the less imperfect the final products will be. On the other hand, in my retail past, my team and I bought extended warranties that customers had declined so that our numbers were acceptable. We figured it was okay because we paid for those warranties, but it was still dishonest and lacked integrity.

Most of our mistakes seem dumb because we shouldn’t have made them, but that’s why they’re mistakes. I think it begs the question: acknowledging that we’re not perfect, what mistakes should we be making instead?


I once had a teacher that told us to always make new mistakes. That is, learn from the old ones. If you make a mistake, make one you haven’t made before and learn something new.

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