Have you ever done something you thought was so dumb, so irreversibly, embarrassingly dumb that you just wanted to crawl away, never to be seen or heard from again?
I have. Many times, unfortunately.
Most recently, I was in a bit of a stinky situation in my volunteer role. I was strapped for time and needed to make a quick decision. I was confused and felt the need to be perfect starting to put me in a headlock. In this panicked state, I took all of the wrong avenues of communication, jumped to conclusions and made a poorly calculated decision. I lost a lot of credibility and gained a lot of heartache.
I hurt people’s feelings. I made them upset. The decision was dumb. I felt dumb. I let myself and, what’s worse – others – down.
It’s in those moments of regret, embarrassment and shame that we wish to retreat and pretend like nobody noticed. Unfortunately, they most often do notice and we have to deal with the behavior and the consequences of our own actions.
I recently saw two stories online that made me think of this: one about Mike Pouncey (current NFL player for the Miami Dolphins) who made light of a serious situation when he advocated for the freedom of his former University of Florida teammate Aaron Hernandez, an accused murderer. The second about Geraldo Rivera (a Fox News show host and commentator) who decided to post a basically naked selfie while wearing rose colored glasses. Not illegal, but definitely ironic and tasteless.
Something tells me these two folks felt dumb after they did this. And, if they didn’t, they should. Though they might have apologized or removed their tweets, no amount of money or image scrubbing can take their actions away. Some things you just can’t undo. Those men can’t take it back.
Perhaps your mistakes don’t come in the form of a drunk selfie. Instead, maybe they’re a miscalculated career move, a maxed-out credit card or a traffic ticket. Whatever form they do come in, you’ll likely struggle with the consequences. You can’t take it back, but you can do your best to mend and move on.
Mending might come in the form of an apology. Most often, it comes in the form of self-evaluation. From all of the mistakes I’ve made, I’ve learned that it’s best to be a person of good intent. What’s that the kids are saying these days… “YOLO”? You Only Live Once, so it’s best to just get it right the first time.
Who’s say Pouncey and Rivera weren’t persons of good intent? Perhaps they were. Last I checked, accused murderer OJ Simpson was deemed innocent and basically naked photos of female pop stars made them more popular. Hmmm…
It’s right about now that I hop on to Tumblr and pretend I’m doing “editorial research” to find motivational quotes about failure, mistakes and motivation. Sparing you the emo GIFs, just know that it’s important to fail, and fail gloriously.
Though you may not be able to take away the burn that the pan on the stove gave you, have the sense to not touch it when it’s hot again. Don’t make the same mistakes. See the world with a clear mind and eyes.
Taking off those rose colored glasses might help.