On Making Mistakes
Last week I made a mistake, a big one. Big in terms of money, bigger in terms of its impact on me.
It was certainly not my first mistake; I make lots of them. But this one was different. My normal blunders, those I have come to know and understand and even appreciate, normally come from my “broad-brush” approach, focusing the big picture and ignoring those pesky, oft-times important, details. These are the mistakes that are part of who I am, and I have learned, sadder and wiser, to watch for them, to rein in my rush for closure, my need to decide and move on to the next project. Those, while they also have proved costly, are ones I know.
This one, however, was a bone-headed bungle, one that came from a total misunderstanding of the subject, one that I deemed so insignificant that I didn’t bother to ask questions about it. I assumed that I knew all there was to know. And was I ever wrong. I was crushed when I realized what I had done. It wasn’t the error itself; that can be remedied, with only time and money the cost.
But this one wounded me, and I knew that my response was significantly out of proportion. Ah, I realized, there’s a lesson in this. This misstep rocked my view of myself, that of a competent and capable person, for this was a most incompetent error, the kind that would elicit eye-rolling from all but the most evolved of my friends.
Those few trusted souls whom I told responded with kindness and understanding, as I would have had they been the ones in trouble. I was less kind to myself. This mistake hit me where I live. So, I thought, maybe I’m not so smart, maybe I’m not so competent.
A week later, I have a bit more perspective. The error is on its way to be corrected. The world still spins on its axis. And I am humbled. Perhaps it is prophetic that for my morning readings, I chose to read Sister Joan Chidester’s examination of the Rule of Benedict, Wisdom Distilled from the Daily. I opened to the chapter on humility. How apt, as I am brought close to my own limitations.
So, I am human, and I am working to forgive myself for that. BUT, I will ask for details, for clarification, even though it may make me look not-quite-so-smart as I would like to appear. And sometimes, the one it’s hardest to forgive is one’s self.
I have learned. Thanks.