One of the best things that I've ever learned is how to be gentle with myself. I used to be pretty hard on myself, especially when I made mistakes or did stupid things (and there were plenty of both!). I would be rather merciless in my judgment and harsh in my treatment of myself, especially the way I thought about myself after such mistakes. But now I'm much less judgmental, much less liable to make myself feel awful just because I've done something I felt was bad or wrong or even stupid. Now I try to understand how things have come to be, how I came to make the mistake or do the stupid thing. And then I treat myself with compassion--not as someone who's stupid or incompetent, but as someone who simply has made a mistake. . . as all human beings do from time to time.
The results of being gentler with myself are very positive. I learn better now from those mistakes, because I'm not having to deal with my own anger and frustration. I feel better now, mostly for the same reason. I'm more relaxed because I don't dread making mistakes nearly as much now as I used to when I knew I would have to deal with my own anger and disappointment in myself. And because of the fact that I'm feeling better, I don't make nearly as many mistakes, either. It's a wonderful way to go through life.
I don't let myself fall into complacency. I'm not a person who tends to do things to hurt other people, so I know that any mistakes I make aren't a result of malice or anything like that, so I should be understanding of myself. It's not like I'm avoiding taking responsibility for my actions; rather, I'm simply being compassionate with a person who deserves my compassion: me.