Just after the words left my mouth I knew I shouldn’t have said them. Not before; after. As soon as I realized what I had said, I wanted to rip out my vocal chords and never say another thing again. But then I couldn’t talk, and I kind of like to talk, so that wasn’t really an option. If only I had taken a moment to embrace my inner Pooh Bear and, “Think, think, think,” before opening my big fat mouth.” Why didn’t I? Because I’m human. And humans often suck.
The worst part of the whole thing is that I was speaking out of pride. Actually, that isn’t the worst part. The worst part is that I knew ahead of time I shouldn’t utter my comment because I prefaced the statement with, “I know it’s probably bad to say this but…” Ugh. I could have just swallowed the words, but nope that’s not what I did. Instead I managed to rip the bandage off the wound of a person I dearly love. A wound that I know is fresh. Sadly, I was so wrapped up in myself I completely failed to realize my words would cause harm. Double ugh.
I know I didn’t cause the original wound, but I’m afraid I managed to make it worse with my carelessness. Looking into the eyes of my loved one I could feel the emotional wreckage she was wading through, and the devastation of feeling like she was back at square one. I managed to precipitate that with my words and in the process once again prove and old adage to be true: We hurt the ones we love.
Now I’m left trying to figure out how to make things better. I can’t take it back. I can’t make the wound heal. I can’t just go Chuck Norris the person that caused the original wound, because it’s more difficult to kick your own butt than it should be. I really feel the need to fix this. But I can’t. I’m just not that powerful. Sadly, she has to fix what I broke.
While I may not be able to repair her heart, I did, to the best of my ability, try to at least lessen the damage of my words. I apologized both sincerely and profusely. I took ownership of my headassery and pledged to be more sensitive in the future. And because she is a gracious person that loves me, I was immediately forgiven and assured that she understood I meant no harm. But now I’m faced with a far greater task – forgiving myself.
I don’t know about you, but forgiving myself is incredibly difficult. I try to be quick to forgive others. However, when it comes to myself, it’s much harder. Instead of cutting myself some slack, I usually just add my latest transgression to my personal failures highlight reel. A reel that seems to be on a never-ending loop inside my head. Apparently I don’t need external critics as the most vicious one in my life stares back at me from the mirror every day. This is my truth. But I don’t want it to be. And I certainly don’t want it to be for anyone else.
This episode reminded me that I, just like the rest of humanity, am a work in progress – not a completed one. I can still make changes to my truth. And today I’m committed to making two more revisions to my structure: 1.) Be more like Pooh Bear and “Think, think, think,” before I speak and 2.) Remember that self-forgiveness is just as important as forgiving others. It may not be a grand plan, but at least it’s a plan I have a chance of sticking to.
My hope in sharing my struggle with self-forgiveness is both altruistic and selfish. I’ll go with altruism first. If even one person is helped by reading this I’ll consider it a win. And now to my selfish ambition. I’d love to hear other suggestions for how to handle both my lack of verbal filter and difficulty with self-forgiveness. If you, dear reader, have any tips on how to accomplish either of these goals, please share them with me. I promise to shut up and listen.