All You Need Is a Virtual Eraser

Recently, I attended the Trilogy Tour.

For those of you who are not familiar with it, this was a four hour concert with Enrique Iglesias, Ricky Martin and Pitbull.

Pitbull was last to perform and within a few minutes of starting, he stopped his band and apologized to the crowd that he screwed up.

I did not understand why he stopped as all seemed to be going great, yet he explained to the audience that he dropped his mike and we deserved to know that he is there to give a great performance and admit his mistakes.

I was shocked that such a famous person was stopping the music in front of about 15,000 people, as though it was a rehearsal, and ADMITTING that he made a mistake. Unbelievable!

We, in the legal profession are mostly type A personalities. We are very detail oriented and we are very hard on ourselves. When we make a mistake, most of us feel so bad that we are happy for the ground to just open up and swallow us so we don’t have to put up with the embarrassment of having to admit our mistakes.

This trait of wanting to be perfect and ensure that our clients, colleagues, and others in our profession perceive us as perfect is one of the major difficulties we face as lawyers in our mental health journeys.

We are all human beings and that in and of itself make us perfectly imperfect. Our imperfections help us grow, evolve and learn so that each day we can be better than the day before. If we are already perfect, what kind of world would we live in? No advancements, inventions, creativity? So perfection is in reality the antithesis to being human. It prevents us from making this world into a better, kinder, and more accepting space.

How to be Human

If a superstar like Pitbull could admit in front of thousands of people that he made a mistake, I believe that we can all lower our standards just a little bit and give ourselves permission to be simply human.

Next time you find that you made a mistake whether at work or in your personal life, instead of wasting time beating yourself up for it, try doing the following:

  1. Take a time out for five minutes. Sit down in a quiet place and take a few slow, deep breaths. Here is a link to help you do that.
  2. Ground yourself by feeling your feet on the ground and feel the support of your chair.
  3. Close your eyes and see your mistake as though on a movie screen.
  4. Now, imagine that you have a virtual eraser and you are erasing the mistake(s) that you have just made. The screen is now wiped clean, and it is snow white.
  5. Now take another slow and deep breath as in number 1 above.
  6. Imagine yourself fixing the mistake in a calm and serene way. Everything is falling into place and you now have the outcome that you intended to have in the first place.
  7. Finally, say to yourself: I forgive myself and I accept myself exactly as I am. Mistakes do not define me. I am human and I am perfectly imperfect.

I know that many times the mistake(s) cannot be fixed in real time. However erasing the mistake virtually and accepting yourself without judgment, will alleviate the stress and burden of the situation and allow you to move on with your day in ease, kindness and grace.

The virtual erasing exercise will also allow you to perhaps see what went wrong and objectively analyze the event without guilt. This will help you avoid the same pitfalls in the future. In the alternative, if the mistake was unavoidable and could not have been prevented, the virtual eraser will allow you to just accept the situation, as stated above, and move forward.

We are not our mistakes. If we learn to accept that we are going to make mistakes sometimes, and allow ourselves the space to do so, then we will be able to fix the issues quicker. Instead of spending valuable energy on ruminating on why we made a mistake, we will concentrate on ways that we could fix it, if possible.

By not overreacting when we make mistakes, we will set a great example to our colleagues, friends and family, by showing them that mistakes are part of life and that focusing on the solution rather than the error, creates a more positive outcome.

So next time you find yourself ruminating over the mistakes that you have made, take out your virtual eraser and just erase it. Then start over again with a smile and a positive frame of mind. Who knows… the new solution may be much better than you could have originally imagined.



The information in this article is not therapy, counseling, psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, mental health care/treatment, substance abuse care/ treatment, nor is it medical, psychological, mental health advice or treatment, or any other professional advice.

The information in this article is for information purposes only, and is not to be used as a substitute for therapy, counseling, psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, mental health care, medical care, or any other professional advice by legal, medical or other qualified professionals.

The information in this article shall not be recorded, copied or distributed.

If you feel that you may need medical or other professional help, please contact your doctor or call 911 if it is an emergency.

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