I'm taking an acting class this semester, and so far it's been fascinating. Every day I walk in not knowing just what to expect. We're learning body movements and getting to know the stage, and becoming (very) comfortable with each other. Yesterday we made a jungle gym with our bodies while our 6'4 professor climbed on top of us over to the other side. This was after we played a vigorous game of tag, so everyone was leaning on each other in a big sweaty hot pile.
We also played a game of passing a ball from person-to-person in a predetermined set pattern where we keep adding more balls so that there are several paths going on at once, and when there's 10~ balls for 20 people, it gets really confusing since every second, you're either catching OR throwing. Our professor Justin emphasized that in this game if you drop the ball or miss a throw, "you have to instantly forgive yourself". He noted that especially since you're part of this bigger game and indispensable, you can't feel embarrassed, become angry, or however you may react to this "failure". He mentioned that while performing, if you mess up, you are the only person who will ever know. Everyone else will have no clue until you show it by turning red in the face, apologizing, stopping to catch yourself etc.
Also because we're doing all these activities where we have to really be out there & make ourselves vulnerable, he reminded us that our mistakes are simply going to evaporate and be forgotten every time we make them. He said: you can't go, "oh my gosh, I am so embarrassed I did that, I can never see these people again, I'm going to drop this class and drop out of college..." See how ridiculous it sounds when you verbalize it? But that's how we think sometimes- that everyone is watching and judging and remembering all the little mistakes we make, but really?
Make mistakes, instantly forgive yourself.
In my yoga class, after a difficult pose where everyone is twisting their bodies and grunting, panting, our yoga instructor reminds us to "forget what just happened. Repeat on other side". She hinted that the key to being a yoga-master (there must be a better term) is to have a bad memory, and simply not remember how difficult something was last time you did it.
Of course, bigger mistakes may not be forgotten by yourself or others, but that's why we have(my friend actually gave me one of these long time ago):
Body washes that will wash away your sins for you.
Well, but seriously, forgiving yourself may be the hardest thing to do, but it's often the most important task. (See lessons in acting; yoga;)