“Nothing requires more courage than admission of fault.” I saved this quote years ago, and forgot to note the source (oops). Recently, I’m making more than the usual number of silly mistakes, along with a few bigger goofs. I’m trying to be brave when I mess up. I respect people who admit faults responsibly and gracefully. I want to be more like them!
For me, courage means fighting the urge to explain or make excuses (at this moment, I want to list why any human being in my circumstances might be prone to mishaps)! This is one of my greatest communication challenges: acknowledging what happened, then moving on, without getting into reasons. I talk too much when I want to persuade myself and others I was not out of line, or had the best intentions.
After years of being addicted to approval, perfectionism, and doing it “right,” it can be a relief to say I did it wrong, although admitting it out loud – to those who can see I’ve missed the mark – is uncomfortable. Perhaps I may learn to give myself the breaks I offer others. I’m often encouraging people not to sweat the “small stuff,” and then I catch myself agonizing over things that ultimately don’t matter much.
Life is short, and mine — if I’m fortunate to live into my 90s — is more than half over. I would prefer to lighten up and become a wise woman of a “certain age” (as the French say) who is certain her mistakes may be accepted with grace. I am far from calm equanimity when I face my faults, but I’m working on it. When I notice I’ve wasted hours on unimportant stuff, I’m weeks late sending my niece her birthday gift, I forgot to follow up with a prospective client, or I just tried to put my phone in the fridge, I have options:
I can take a big breath (instead of swearing about my “stupidity,” under my breath).
I can smile at how amusing it is to put a phone in the fridge, or laugh out loud at my endless capacity for being distracted and mindless.
I can apologize to anyone who may be feeling hurt, angry, inconvenienced, or overlooked, with a simple, “I’m sorry, you’re right; I messed up.”
I can remember I’m an okay, competent, lovable, and normal human being when I fall short of my expectations. As a wise friend told me, there is beauty in imperfection!