You know when you mess up… and instead of owning it you let your embarrassment take control? Well, I did that tonight. And honestly, it wasn’t even that big of a screw up, but I was really embarrassed, mostly because I felt bad for taking up my husband’s time.
Imagine the scene… 3 kids are trying to convince us of the 102 reasons why they should stay up to watch the NBA finals. They had all stayed up late the night before to watch the NHL Stanley Cup Finals and post-win coverage (Go HAWKS!). Since they aren’t Cav’s or GSW fans they were told no and reluctantly marched upstairs, brushed their teeth, put on their p.j.’s and hopped into bed. After hugs and kisses they were all snuggly under their blankets. My hubby went back to the game and I went about my usual post-kids-in-bed routine.
On my to-do-list tonight was wrapping up an annual financial report for one of my volunteer groups. It’s not hard, but making everything line up and balance gets frustrating when there is one number out of whack. So, after spending some time trying to solve my basic accounting problem, I asked my husband for help. Now, you should know that I love him, but rarely ask him for help when it comes to math, numbers, or my computer.
As I said, the NBA Finals were on and I was having trouble accounting for $11.73 on my report. It was not a huge number, but it was annoying to me that my math could be “that” off. I mean, I love math… especially accounting. So, it really made me mad that my numbers were off. So, with a grumbled, “Honey…?” and a glass of wine as a peace offering, I asked for help.
He got up right away, which surprised me since it was the 4th quarter of the game, but I didn’t think much of it at the time because I thought I’d only need his help for a few minutes… Boy, was I wrong!
We were at it for an hour… we finally figured out $10.73 of the difference and were down to the final $1 to figure out. I know you are thinking, “it’s one buck, big deal… get over it”… but I felt bad. I felt bad because our “math” was right, but I was getting agitated that it was still off by $1. Then we looked at all of the statements, receipts, and reports one more time, and we found the missing $1. It turns out that I didn’t record the $1 in question properly. I felt like a dummy and wanted to bury my head in the sand, if we lived near any that is! Plus, I felt bad for wasting his time.
Then, he gives me this smirk. You know the one. The one that he meant as a cute and flirty… “Honey, come on” smirk… and I took it as the “You’re an idiot, I can’t believe you are so dumb” smirk. Yeah, that one.
Well, that was all it took. A nice night of working together, ignoring the game, enjoying a glass of wine (no that is not why I made the mistake by the way), and giggling about numbers (yes, we are dorks like that) turned into a “are you serious?”, walking away, turn off the lights and go upstairs kind of night for my husband and a still sitting at the computer with my numbers, embarrassed with myself, trying to finish the bloody report kind of night for me. And it’s all because I was too ashamed that I made a mistake.
Instead of laughing about my mistake and finishing the report together, I said a mumbled “thanks for your help” and went back to work. I wouldn’t even look at him and just kept staring at my computer as if it was going to save me. I mean, I could have burned holes through my computer screen I was so ashamed. What?!?!?! I am 35 years old! We have been together for nearly 20 years and instead of saying sorry, I acted like a child. That is not how I wanted to be in that moment. I don’t know why I allowed my embarrassment to overshadow the grace that I could have given myself. And to think that I chose that ugly reaction. Yuck!
In this ugly moment, I can either persecute myself or I can practice self-grace. Today, I choose to practice giving myself grace. We all need to practice giving self-grace. There are or will be times when we make mistakes and out of embarrassment or a subconscious need to seek approval we choose to persecute ourselves. I beg of you to choose grace, not persecution. Give yourself a second chance, or a third, or a fourth if that’s what it takes. We all could use a little grace. Give it to yourselves and practice sharing it with others. Tonight, I am practicing it on myself and will pay it forward by sharing that grace with others.
Choose how to BE TODAY! Be someone full of GRACE for yourself and those around you-even complete strangers. Live with COMPASSION and the understanding that making mistakes is A-OK. Feel BLESSED to be living a life you CHOOSE. Make today a GREAT DAY!!! I know that it was no happy accident that I reacted that way, I needed the reminder to practice self-grace. That horrible moment taught me to just forgive myself and to move on. And that is what giving grace does, it allows you to move on.
How do you choose to be today?
There are no happy accidents.