I’m Sorry, I Blew It.

admitmistakesFor many people a root canal sounds better than having to say the words, “I’m sorry”. I think people who struggle with that learned somewhere along the way that they were supposed to be perfect. Or maybe they grew up in an environment where it wasn’t safe to make a mistake, where they paid the price dearly if they did. As a 93-97% recovered (thanks, 20+ years of yoga!!!) Type-A personality, I really relate when people have unrealistic expectations of themselves. No one operates from their highest self in every moment. We are human, and we will all make mistakes. Being able to recognize when you’ve blown it, and to own that and apologize quickly are gifts you give to yourself and everyone in your life.

But we humans are funny, and sometimes we just want to be right. We dig our heels in and paint ourselves into a corner. If you’ve inadvertently hurt someone, elicited anger or inspired a person to start to grab their tent and head for the hills, a simple, “I blew it, I’m so sorry” is usually enough to release the heat of a situation. Most people who are hurting simply want to be seen and acknowledged. Realizing you’ve screwed up is like getting caught with your pants down unexpectedly, though. Once when I was eleven, I was at a party with my parents where I really didn’t know anyone, and went into the bathroom. A man opened the door as I was pulling my jeans down, and I still remember the embarrassment and shame I felt, even though I hadn’t done a thing but be human. I froze and felt my face flush as we made eye contact, and he looked down, apologized (even though he hadn’t done anything wrong, either) and ducked out the door. It’s sort of the same feeling when you have that realization that you are the one who’s made the mistake. You’re naked with your pants down, and someone else has seen how vulnerable you are.

Hopefully that someone can be forgiving. Can remember that this time it’s you, but there will be a time when it’s them. Having compassion for yourself is the best way to find some for other people. Being gentle but truthful with yourself when you’ve messed up makes it possible for you to find empathy for other people when their pants are down. Forgiving yourself, but examining what happened so you can show up differently next time are some of the best ways to really grow. Not everyone will do it. Some people struggle to forgive as much as others struggle to apologize, and there are tons of people who have a tough time with both sides of the equation. But the more you’re able to be honest, to see yourself clearly, to do your best to live in a way that feels truthful to you, the more you give others the freedom and permission to do the same. We could all use a little more compassion and forgiveness. Sending you some right now if you need it, and a lot of love, too! Ally

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