Bad Thought: I’m a mistake.

A recent client was reeling from a performance review at work. I was sure Angelo had been royally skewered by the boss from the way he put himself down. A few questions from me about the review revealed that it had actually been quite favorable. The review was full of praise, apart from the single negative comment about Angelo’s loss of a good client due to an oversight.

In my opinion, Angelo was feeling far worse than he should have. His problem wasn’t the mistake he’d made at work, but of using his boss’ criticism to mean that Angelo himself--as a person--was the problem. He said to me, “I can be such a screw-up.”

Many of us suffer from Angelo’s faulty way of receiving a criticism as a kind of negation of our very being, of our value, of our sense of who we are. We see a mistake or flaw pointed out by someone else as a comment on our whole self. Not “I made a mistake, but I am a mistake.”

Can you make a mistake, without viewing yourself, your whole self, as a mistake? Next time tell yourself, My mistake is not who I am.

You're reading the Bad Thoughts Blog, which maintains that feeling good is as simple as thinking a better thought. I'm Debbie Covino, hypnotherapist, coach, speaker, author, and creator of the All Day Hypnosis© series, available at

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