Last time I talked about sticks, and how beating ourselves up over our mistakes really gets in the way of the Alexander Technique. It’s part of being human to make mistakes, and to get things wrong sometimes. You can’t avoid it. So what are the alternatives to beating yourself up?
Well, first of all, calmly accepting that mistakes happen is a really good start. But once you’ve managed calm and acceptable, there are more proactive choices, such as:-
1. Deal with it
Sometimes we have the option of going back and fixing the consequences of our mistakes. We can buy a different shampoo, replace the broken dish, apologise to the offended relative, give the too-small trousers to charity. Not a comfortable option, but far better than the stick.
2. Learn from it
Almost every mistake has something in it that we can learn from(*). In fact, this is how FM Alexander developed his technique, by methodically making and learning from his mistakes(**). It might be some new information to remember, a skill to master, a new and better perspective to adopt, a better understanding of how things work. It might be something about you, about your hobby, job, family, environment or the world at large. It might be a huge learning curve or a tiny little adjustment in ideas. It doesn’t matter. What matters is taking it on board and using it to improve the actions and decisions you make in the future.
You can choose either one of these. Personally I try and use both whenever possible. It makes life, and the Alexander Technique, so much more rewarding.
(*) I realise there are a minority of mistakes you just cannot learn from. These are usually the result of extreme circumstances. If you are unlucky enough to encounter one, don’t let it put you off learning from all the rest.
(**) He turned it into an art form. Read Chapter 1, ‘Evolution of a Technique’ from his second book ‘The Use of The Self’ to see how he went about it.