When we tell ourselves that we did something well, that’s positive. Maybe we did well in an interview, in a discussion, or in confronting an employer, employee, or customer. Maybe we did well in something that benefits our health, such as exercising. Maybe we handled a difficult situation with a friend or family member with respect. When we give ourselves credit for doing something well, that helps our self-esteem and helps us to do well again.
Sometimes, though, we do not do well. We handle a situation poorly. Unfortunately, when this happens we sometimes focus too much on how poorly we did. We then sometimes extend that into other areas. If we are bad at “A” then we must be bad at “B,” for example. This, of course, hurts our self-esteem and makes it more difficult to do well next time.
When we do not handle a situation well, or do not do as well as we could at something, it’s important to recognize it and learn what we can from it. But it doesn’t do us any good to beat ourselves up over it.
A question that helps me is, “Did I do better than I normally do?” If the answer is “yes” then I know that at least I am improving and can do even better the next time. It encourages me to keep trying rather than giving up. As long as I am progressing, there is a good chance that eventually I will do well in that situation.
Often it is not a matter of doing “good” or “bad” but doing “better.”