adjective \-ˌhär-təd\

Definition of LIGHTHEARTED

: free from care, anxiety, or seriousness : happy-go-lucky
: cheerfully optimistic and hopeful : easygoing

I’m coming to believe lighthearted is a choice, a choice I want to make for my life. Here I am, a mother of four children, a full time instructional coach, a writer, a friend, a wife, to list the roles will fill the night, and I make mistakes.

It’s impossible to get things right every single minute of every single day of every single week. I’m bound to mess up. Even if I don’t mess up, there’s a good chance I’ll be misunderstood. Even if I’m not misunderstood, there’s a good chance I’ll drop the ball. 
As my life gets fuller, I’ve noticed the potential for mistakes increases. I don’t like mistakes. Actually, that’s not true, because I’m quite forgiving of other people’s mistakes. It’s my own I don’t like. I don’t like making mistakes.
Who does?
The problem is sometimes when I make a mistake, I feel guilty. I wrack my brain trying to figure out what I could have done differently, how I could have avoided the mistake. I want to fix it. I’m embarrassed and wonder how I could have made such a mistake.
All of this and it doesn’t even have to be big.
This takes a lot of energy out of a person. It can make a person serious and prone to trying to corral the day in order to avoid mistakes.
I’m not that person anymore. I’m pretty sure this part of being a recovering perfectionist.
Mistakes are part of life. I’m learning to live in the midst of them and still shine. I can do this by choosing cheer. I can do this by smiling, laughing, and remembering it is up to me to bring joy. I can’t do this if I’m handcuffed to my mistakes. Rather, I’ll let them go and step into a light heart.
Join us at Two Writing Teachers
for the March Slice of Life challenge.

Let's Be Email Pals!

Teaching writers doesn't have to drown us.

Enter your information to receive my free eBook, plus weekly tips and encouragement for teaching writers.

Don't worry, I won't send you spam, and you can unsubscribe any time. (I'd hate to see you go, though.) Powered by ConvertKit


  1. I, too, have spent time agonizing over the mistakes. This struggle to be forgiving of one's self and to see the value in the learning by doing is so well captured here.

    Thanks for putting into words an idea I have often struggled with.

  2. …Ah, a Recovering Perfectionist. I think I'm a charter member. I have noticed my mistakes more often lately. Maybe I'm making more than I once did or maybe I'm actually slowing down and noticing them? I don't know. Like you, I forgive them easily with others but am very hard on myself. We both need to be kind to ourselves and remember that we can apologize when needed…and that's when our forgiveness of others should come back to us. All will be well.

  3. For me, I tend to analyze the mistakes I make in order to figure out how I can prevent them. The answer is usually – slow down and breathe! I like your idea,too, to become more lighthearted and not so hard on myself. Thanks!

  4. I love your post tonight…I especially like the line, “I can't do this if I'm handcuffed to my mistakes. Rather, I'll let them go and step into a light heart.”

    Recently a friend told me that he's been learning that if he's all-consumed with the what-ifs and trying to control things he really can't, that he feels God can't fully use him for what He wants in the here and now…He's too buried in the past and the what-ifs…

    I love the reminder that we must choose joy. We must choose to let go and to be cheerful and lighthearted. We must choose to control our emotions.

    I, too, choose joy.

  5. I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one. Your piece made me feel uneasy at first because I recognized myself but at the end I felt so hopeful. Thank you.

  6. I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one. Your piece made me feel uneasy at first because I recognized myself but at the end I felt so hopeful. Thank you.

  7. As another recovering perfectionist (I love that phrase), I can so relate to your post. Thank you for expressing it so eloquently. I try to let go of those mistakes (and there are plenty of them), learn from them, and take on the next challenge.

  8. Ruth, I love the concept of a recovering perfectionist. Is there a 12 step program for this? If so, I need it. 🙂 Your post is an important reminder to give ourselves a break. Thanks~

  9. So many lines here are words to live by.
    “I'm learning to live in the midst of them and still shine.”
    May you keep shining.

  10. Lighthearted is a choice. Love that. I think we often forget that as we get caught up in the “have to's” that may not be as have to as they present themselves. Thanks for your words. I will use them as I go through my day.

  11. I'm a recovering perfectionist too. Or maybe I am a just perfectionist who wants to be a recovering perfectionist. Love your last paragraph. Such big truths! Happy Sunday!

  12. Your journey is not only beautiful, but in my own reaction as well as tucked inside all the comments from others is the truth that you lead others to shine, to lighten their hearts, by choosing it for yourself.

  13. Cheer. Choice. Thank you for your honesty in sharing what many of us deal with. Love the line – I'm a recovering perfectionist. You share a beautiful way to overcome the struggle.