I’m acquainted with the taste of my own toes. I put my foot in my mouth more times than I’d like to count.
Whether speaking out of anger, out of turn, or just OUT, we’ve all done it. And in the age of social media and smart phones, it’s almost a rite of passage to be outed. A danger of social media, however, is the potential to lose compassion and sensitivity. Some of the biggest laughs come at the expense of someone who has no clue they’re the butt of a viral, online joke. Try as I may to be the bigger person, I’ve fallen prey to a few of those chuckles.
But what happens when the gaffe is your own?
Like the time I used a neck scarf to demonstrate ‘getting your tubes tied’ when I didn’t have anything for show and tell. (Rookie kindergarten mistake after overhearing my mother’s conversation.) Or worse, when I shared a friend’s ‘secret’ endeavoring to make a point, and ended up nearly making an enemy?
As you can see, I’ve had many instances where I needed to go back and make some things right. Here are a few things I learned along the way:
1) Humility is your friend.
It’s hard not to laugh when someone over-confident and prideful takes a tumble off their high horse. The Bible literally says, Pride comes before a fall. Can it get any more plain than that? Practicing humility helps ensure that you have more laughing with you than at you.
2) Keep it “real;” but keep it kind.
I despise the bad rap that “keeping it real” gets. Many ascribe ‘keeping it real’ to bad behavior and crude comments. Sorry, but many times it’s an excuse to be real MEAN! Sure, I need the shot to be vaccinated. But what does it hurt to distract me and divert some of the pain as you give me what I need?
3) Watch where you’re going!
I know of what I speak in number 2. Recently, I had a friend take some time away from me because of how she felt after a few of our conversations. As someone accustomed to repenting quickly, I wished she had let me know in the moment. But in retrospect, both of us may have benefited if I paid attention to her face and body language as we conversed. Sometimes, people will let you know that the chord you’re striking is an unpleasant one. Watch closely so you know whether you need to change direction or soften the blow.
Doing one or all of the above can help wipe the slate clean, although you may not get away from photographic proof!
Do you have a blunder or misstep you’d like to share? Or, have you ever been outed by a child or grandchild the way I did my mother all those years ago? We’d love to hear about it in the comments! (We promise to laugh with you.)
I can’t stand when you speak directly to me! 😉
I’m in the middle of this right now. I said some things that hurt a friend – it actually resulted in, what I believe, will be the end of the friendship. Usually, I would humble myself, apologize, and mend the relationship. This is a little different because I’m completely ok with ending the friendship – it wasn’t necessarily beneficial or Godly, it simply just existed (plus I had previously heard from God regarding the relationship). I’m caught between “everything happens for a reason” and “you need closure to move on.
I’m seeking God for clarity on the exact steps I’m supposed to take. But I’ve lost some of my peace & joy – and am desperate for a clean slate!
Ha! Well, Amanda I LOVE when I speak directly to you! I wish it were in a coffee shop. 😉
Unfortunately, I’ve been caught between that rock and hard place. It gets easier over time and I know you’re going to make the right decision. There’s a benefit to making the most of the time we have, and sometimes that requires pruning of relationships that aren’t bearing fruit. It’s no fun, but can be worth it.
Thank you for this reality check!!
In undergrad I was a nanny to two young boys. The six-year old, the youngest, would place himself in “Time Out” when he knew he needed to humble himself, not say mean-spirited words, or have a private moment to regroup.
This post reminds me of just that–check myself before I regret hastily made decisions or utter words that will make me eat crow (or toes).
How awesome that someone so young had a grip on stealing away to process emotions! Wish I had learned that long ago. You are proficient at keeping yourself in check, so I’m sure you won’t have occasion to eat crow very often. Thanks so much for chiming in!