Interestingly when I wrote the title to this piece I wrote ‘help’ instead of ‘hem’ but quickly corrected it, even though I could have written at length on another, slightly shifted topic. No, I changed it because I wanted it to be ‘right’. And that’s just it. I’ve heard of exercises done by therapists who aim to help people with control issues, perfection issues, and probably other issues as well, by having the individual walk around with the hem of their skirt, or pants/trousers, undone. It is an experiment to see how people deal with something that is not quite right, can be easily fixed, but on assignment , is out of bounds. I’d like you to imagine for a short while that all of our hems are undone… and what it means to the mind.
How we see mistakes
I recall a high-school science teacher told us the difference between errors and mistakes. I believe that one is the natural, scientific “offness” of experimentation, and the other is just wrong. I could never remember which was which (yes, the irony of it is funny) but most of the times I believe, no matter what the word, that errors and mistakes are simply made by something being a bit “off”.
However, the reaction that different people make to mistakes is wide and deep. Some don’t acknowledge them, others immediately learn the lessons, others beat themselves up over gaffes, and others feel it is the end of the world. Often times these are inherited and habitual reactions that may not serve us very well anymore. How were mistakes handled in the mythos or daily life of family members – were the tales retold of someone making one goof-up and negatively impacting his/her life and all the generations that follow? How would that be absorbed by a young mind? Mistakes are very, very, very bad!!! With that tape running, then things that aren’t right or don’t come out right are seen as either to be avoided at all costs (not around, can’t be held responsible) or are ruminated about and bemoaned at length. These reactions don’t change things, but we get into the pattern of it.
If you recognize this in yourself, you’ve taken a big step. While this habit is familiar and ‘normal’ to you, you have a powerful subconscious and can create a new way of thinking and feeling, by letting yourself and others go by realizing that, for the most part, if you had known back then what you know now, you would have done something differently – and that’s forgivable. It may seem challenging but is much more straight forward in hypnosis.
Who’s looking at us, really?
Were you ever a teenager? Most teens have experienced a pimple/spot in their lives. And it usually happened at the worst possible moment – before a picture, date, holiday, whatever. And if you’ve ever been in a household of a child who had this happen, there is usually some drama and words like “EVERYBODY will notice”. Now, if you’ve ever been in a High School, you’ve noticed that a large percentage of teens have acne – and that each of them is thinking that the others are noticing. The reality is that they are really only concerned with themselves and don’t notice much of what’s going on with others.
This doesn’t seem to change in many areas as we grow. We get so concerned about our stuff, that we thing that everyone is judging us. There may be some out there who are, but I would say they are putting their resources in the wrong place. Most people are focusing on their own lives and don’t often give two hoots about the little foibles that we have from day to day. Most people have too many concerns they are focusing on for themselves that they wouldn’t even notice a hem down, a zipper open, a ink stain or a zit.
How to lower your blush-line
I know that some people think that if you wear a skirt or trousers with the hem down for a couple days, you’ll be duly desensitized so that you won’t get embarrassed again. I’m not sure if I agree. Because the mind works perfectly (whether it is to support us or to follow patterns that aren’t supporting us any longer), I believe we can practice this experience in our minds to fortify us, just in case we need it in our daily life.
As you’re heading off to sleep, take a few moments and imagine a situation where you felt good in mind, body and emotions – and feel it for a little bit. Then imagine a situation that you might have considered embarrassing in the past – a hem down, or whatever it may be. While you’re experiencing it in your mind, recall the good feeling and add it to the situation – you may notice that the bad feeling decreases when you do. Because it is your creation, imagine flitting through the thoughts of others and realize that they are all thinking about other things – their work, their family, their own issues and mistakes. Realize with some compassion that we’re all in a similar but different boat. Practice that over and over as many times as you need to start repatterning a new way of thinking and feeling in situations where we perform ‘less than perfectly’. It’ll just get easier and easier.
You truly are perfect as you are – you are a work in progress and when you open yourself to learning, living and forgiving, you hone your strengths, let go of your past mistakes and more easily and gracefully move into an even better chapter of your life.