I made a mistake today. Probably more than one. But I didn’t handle it properly:
I did something that hurt someone’s feelings. Right when it happened I knew that I fucked up. But I didn’t handle it properly. I apologized to the offended party. And when said person told me that I hurt their feelings, I got really defensive. And I struck back without thinking. No no no, James. So. I fucked up again whilst attempting to correct my earlier fuck-up. So here is my simple advice for people who fuck up.
A) Acknowledge that if you are breathing, you will fuck up sometimes.
B) When you fuck up, apologize. Especially if you hurt someone’s feelings. I’m sure it was unintentional; that’s why people call it a mistake. Just apologize, baby.
C) When listening to how you hurt someone’s feelings, listen with an open mind and a quiet tongue. Don’t be defensive. Just listen. Breathe. And listen.
D) Internalize their words. Empathize. Think to yourself, ‘Hm… Self: if this happened to me, would I be offended?’ Even if the answer to that self-addressed question is “no”, try to think how it could offend someone. Don’t write their feelings off as unjustified or stupid. Listen to their words and try as hard as you can to understand. Do not lash out at them. Listen.
E) Do not make excuses. Because does it really matter? If you hurt someone’s feelings, just apologize. If it’s just a misunderstanding… apologize. If they really matter to you: apologize. Do you get my drift? Can you smell what I’m baking? (Actually, if I was baking you would MOST DEFINITELY smell it cuz it would be BURNT.)
E) Vow to do better next time. That’s all you can do.
F) Let it go. Do not beat yourself up. You fucked up. You apologized. Nothing else you can do. It wasn’t your first mistake (unless you are a newborn reading this), and it won’t be your last. Acknowledge yourself as a flawed yet beautiful human being. And Let. It. Go.
I know it sucks to make a mistake. Trust me. I KNOW. Being a perfectionist is a terrible, terrible thing. It’s something that I struggle with: being “perfect”. Because it’s an impossible thing to do. You can’t drink a fucking gallon of milk without ralphing. So don’t waste your time. And you can’t go through your life without making any mistakes ever again. You can’t. I know it sucks. What sucks the most is when you hurt someone you really care about. That sucks bad. When I forget to plug in my phone and it dies, that’s a mistake. But it doesn’t really hurt anyone else. So that’s a pretty OK mistake, and I get over it by eating too much. But when I do something that hurts someone that I really, REALLY never want to hurt: that sucks big balls. Big, prickly barbed-wire balls. But don’t beat yourself up. Take three deep breaths, and remind yourself: “I’m fine. Everything is going to be fine. I made a mistake. I’m a human being. All I can do is do better in the future.”
And most of all: be patient. I like to think I’m an extremely patient individual. But there are some things that I wish would happen/pass much faster:
1) Sobering up from “too drunk” to “tipsy”
2) The pain immediately following my STD test where the female doctor shoved a q-tip up my peehole. (I can only describe it as someone sticking a fiery sword up your urethra.)
3) The terrible part of a breakup where you can’t lie down in your bed without your heart beating so hard that your bed is vibrating (and not in the sexy motel bed kind of way)
4) Getting past the awkward friend stage to the tell-each-other-everything stage
6) Bus rides from VA to NY
7) Any sort of illness, especially involving diarrhea (or as a friend so wisely called it: “pissing out your sass-hole”)
8) Coming to terms with the fact that I messed up
9) When I offend someone and there’s that awkward period of time between when I apologized and when we’re totally cool again
10) When I offend someone and there’s that long period of time between hating myself and forgiving myself
Be kind to yourself. And remind yourself of some things you did right today so you stop being mad at yourself for something you did wrong:
1) I drooled less on stage tonight.
2) I did not fall out of my pirouette.
3) I did not run into anyone whilst booty-shaking.
4) My airplane lift looked awesome.
5) I RAN INTO ZERO PILLARS TODAY!
6) I got out of my kitty-cat makeup SUPER fast
7) I didn’t piss my unitard (despite my strong desire to do so)
8) I didn’t accidentally riff at all during Cats
Learn what it takes to pull yourself out of your downward spiral. For me: it really helps to talk to myself. It’s hard to find a place where talking to yourself is acceptable and/or discrete. So I choose the shower. People may think that I have full-on conversations with my loufa… and in a way I guess they would be right (“You’re beautiful. It’s OK. There’s nothing wrong with you, Mr. Loufa”.) I find that sometimes I need to be louder than that rude voice in my head and the only logistical way to do that is to talk out loud. So yes, I give myself pep talks in the showers. I remind myself that there is nothing wrong with me. I remind myself that I am human. And I wash away all my self-hatred and try to be kind to myself.
Writing in a journal also helps. Talking to myself is most effective in telling Rude Voice to SHUT IT’S FUCKING PIE-HOLE. But the journal helps because then I can make a game plan or find a solution. I also like the feeling of an ink pen on paper. It makes me feel like I’m signing the Declaration of Windependence… which I TOTALLY am.
BE KIND TO YOURSELF.
And know the difference between your rude inner voice: (“You suck You suck You suck You never do anything right”) and your conscience: (“Another shot of alcohol will summon your googly eye and your good friend Lack O. Judgement”)
“And I’m thankful for every day that I’m given, both the easy and hard ones I’m livin’. But most of all I am thankful for loving who I really am. I’m beautiful. Yes, I’m beautiful. And I’m here.”
~”I’m Here” from The Color Purple
You’re beautifully imperfect.
(Say it til you believe it.)
“I’m perfectly fine the way I am.”