It’s been a good day to practice self-compassion. Which is a nice way of saying that my internal voice has tended to be harsh today. Which is a nice way to say that I’ve fucked up a couple of times and feel crappy about it.
The first time I had an otherwise lovely conversation with someone I don’t really know who had asked me for a recommendation. And then, right at the end of the conversation, I said something that was ridiculously thoughtless and possibly hurtful. Probably hurtful.
In retrospect, I was trying to present myself in a particular light and I didn’t put myself in her shoes and realize how it was going to sound. So even if she wasn’t particularly hurt or upset, it was still thoughtless and self-centered. And pointless. Sigh.
So my immediate reaction, once I was off the call and looking back on it, was to yell at myself and call myself several unflattering names. That wasn’t actually helpful at all.
Then I thought about reaching out to her to apologize. But she’s not someone I’m going to have an ongoing relationship with and I’m pretty sure that reaching out and apologizing would put her in an uncomfortable position of having to assure me it was ok. I don’t think that would be helpful at all, even if it made me feel better. And I’m not sure that she’s even going to give it a second thought.
That leaves me with the knowledge that this is a reminder of my own ability to fuck up, with the best of intentions. It’s hard to own that. Hard for me anyhow. I would like to be this person that is always thoughtful and considerate, always able to say the right thing. And I am that person a lot of the time.
Until I fuck up. Then I’m not. And I have to sit with that knowledge and let it be a reminder not to get caught up in the pull of trying to present myself a particular way.
Also today, I had a lengthy text exchange with someone who believes that I’ve wronged her and treated her terribly, deliberately and with sone kind of evil intentions. It’s complicated because we did have a conflict that ended our relationship and I probably didn’t handle it perfectly – but I also didn’t treat her terribly, and I didn’t have evil intentions at all.
She wants me to admit that I’m all kinds of awful, only I’m not going to “admit” that. At the same time, I know that she really is hurt. So we spent some time with that. More than I wanted to spend, to be honest. But it was another reminder that I’m not always as perfect as I’d like to be.
A friend of mine posted something on FB recently with the best of intentions that was actually upsetting and hurtful to some other folks. When they told her that, she posted a lovely apology on FB – I mean, a really well-done, from the heart acknowledgment of what she had done and why it had hurt them and how she would make amends.
I thought she was a lovely person before this. I still think she’s a lovely person. I know that she always has good intentions, as much as anyone can. When I read her apology, I didn’t think less of her. In fact, I think more highly of her. But one of the things she said, in her apology, was not to give her kudos for apologizing because it was the least she could do (or something like that.). And I thought yeah, otherwise, it can just be a different kind of posturing, performative apology.
Some of us go to confession for our sins or wrongdoings, some of us blog. Either way, the point is to name our sins and seek forgiveness, whether that’s forgiveness from God or from ourselves or the universe at large, I guess.
For me, at this point in my life, it’s mostly about being able to sit with the knowledge of what I’ve done, without beating myself up, and figure out what to do to make amends. Sometimes, that’s easier said than done. Anyhow.
Also, it’s Imbolc today. And I think I’m going to create an altar. Which will be a whole different story for another day.