I was watching something today, early, early this morning, that reminded me of when I’d made a very public mistake. It’s one thing to make a mistake and only you know about it, but the most horrifying mistakes are the ones you make in full view of everyone. It doesn’t matter how they’re made – whether through ignorance or foolishness. What’s important is how you handle them.
I think it’s very important not to gloss over the mistake, especially what you feel about it. You will feel a certain humiliation. I know I have, for every single one of the mistakes I’ve made publicly. I think it’s important to feel the full measure of that humiliation, the better for it to register. I also think it’s important because the shame will fuse itself on your consciousness. You will do almost anything not to experience that feeling again.
Unfortunately, since you are human, you will feel it often, or at least more than once.
After that humiliation, after the sensation of shame comes acceptance. It’s very important to accept that you made the mistake. Not to brush it off or to blame someone else. To accept the blame is to accept the responsibility.
After those two components of surviving your mistake are finalized comes the most important part. Learn from it.
Most of my greatest life lessons have happened at the tail end of making gigantic mistakes. I can honestly say that I haven’t duplicated many of those mistakes. I’ve made different ones, but I try not to repeat my failures.
To recap – to survive a mistake:
1. Feel the shame.
2. Accept the blame.
3. Learn from it.
P.S. I don’t consider Friday afternoon’s post to be one of those public mistakes, by the way.