a mistake with potentially far reaching consequences.
o.k., so i didn't push the button on a nuclear detonator, or decide to strip mine a tract of forest...
i put $40 of petrol in our new diesel car.
which could completely stuff the motor.
as i realised i went into a slight panic - nothing i could do but stop the petrol and start the process of asking for help. A process that is still ongoing - we haven't heard yet about what the mechanics are doing or have found.
and as much as last night i wanted to run to kind people like you and ask for comfort that is not really what this is about...
what it is about was the battle with myself over my internal dialogue, the route my self talk took, how i tried to make ammends.
My first instinct was to batter myself. To talk about how stupid i was. What an idiotic mistake, how imbecilic. How even finding reasons for it happening beyond me being a moron were unacceptable.
Then when i heard that and felt the way it made my body tighten and shake i tried to get out of that ancient groove and try self care.
But there was something about how i felt like the self abasement was required. Like in the equation of how the Universe works when I make a mistake it is mandatory for me to be small and crumbly for reparation to occur.
Self kindness felt like a grating of a cog out of alignment. Like the mistake would get bigger if i was anything less than self flagellating.
I wondered about how that starts - how as children we learn to be abject if we are wrong.
And in the middle of my sleepless night i realised that we all make mistakes. Some of them are terrible, like split second misjudgment while driving, some of them are pretty bloody shitty, like putting petrol in a diesel car and some of them are not too bad, like buying the wrong kind of crackers (even though my daughter feels like that is a catastrophe). But when we treat ourselves with the sandpaper to the soul that words like "stupid" and "how could you"create we serve no one. Mistakes become something we avoid (keeping ourselves small in order to avoid doing something that we might get wrong) or that lead us to hide from fear of enduring a reaction that is like acid.
How many mistakes do we hide from the world, and sometimes from ourselves, that lead us down a much darker path?
I want to face the way i handle mistakes more consciously now. I believe in a benevolent world, one where the default dial needs to be set on self care. I want to practice so that my self talk is around tenderness and awareness (i have been constantly climbing out of the groove of self meanness today and towards the what can I learn which i would not have reached if i was still whipping myself).
Is it something we can do together?