Can you imagine if you were watching an infant try to crawl for the first time and someone said to the baby, “OH! You’re so bad at that! You stink…why even bother!?”

Or how about this one – a toddler is learning to walk and they fall down. Someone says, “Obviously you’re too stupid to walk! You should just stay put!”

Maybe it’s a teenager learning the social skills needed for life and they fumble through a school presentation. What if their teacher said, “That was so lame! You’re definitely a failure!”

Stick with me here.

We would all be horrified, appalled, shocked, angry, defensive…whatever your reaction is – most of us would have a similar version of our own. Why? Because we all understand that those are things that must be learned and practiced before anyone can do them well.

I can take a guess and say that we all know the best way to help someone learn something new is to encourage them. Certainly not shame them…that works against their growth.

So why is it that we are so quick to shame ourselves?

Do we know everything already? Have we accomplished all that there is to accomplish? Should we be perfect at everything we attempt?

No. No. No.

We are used to our own negative self-talk. It hurts us but we still do it. Think about it…when you ‘failed’ something, how did you treat yourself? Was that motivating?

What if we approach ourselves differently? What if we allow for parts of ourselves to be newborn or toddlers or teenagers or whatever age is true?

For instance, I’m 46 years old. But my mindfulness practice is only about 4 years old. My driving skills are around 31 years old. My ability to determine a healthy relationship from an unhealthy relationship is somewhere between 5 and 10 years old. My love for unicorns is probably 40 years old. My willingness to try new things without being afraid of what people will think…I’d say that’s a toddler. My need for lots of butter on my toast is 45 years old. Whatever I will do next – well, that’s not even born yet. But when it comes, it’ll be a newborn.

You with me? I hope so. Here’s where it gets good.

We are complex creatures. All the different things that make us who we are come to us throughout our lives. Every aspect is a different ‘age’. Each piece of us was ‘born’ at a different time during our life.

When you try something new, what if you give yourself the space to fall down and let that be okay?

What if you applaud yourself simply for trying something new?

I bet you’d be more willing to try new things. Go ahead, think about something you want to do or gave up on previously.

Now, pretend you’re that toddler learning to walk – because you are. We all are.

Imagine all you will be able to do when you treat yourself with love and encouragement.

After 20+ years as a leader in corporate America, Jennifer Embery made the transition to her life on purpose. She is a speaker, life coach, and writer who helps women over 40 determine what they want to do and how to do it. Click here to sign up for your complimentary strategy session. For more info visit