So I’m human. You can’t fault a cat for sleeping 18 hours a day, or a snail for taking 2 hours to cross the street.
I’m human, therefore I live my life having human moments. I drop things. I forget things. I make wrong turns and drive the wrong way down one-way streets. I miss my exit when I am already late for a funeral. I leave the quinoa cooking about 20 minutes longer than necessary – which incidentally will also ruin the pot, not just the quinoa.
Human moments are reminders that we are not perfect, and if we try to take ourselves too seriously they have a wonderful way of humbling us and bringing us back to the same level as everyone else…because we are ALL human. So in a way they are wonderfully unifying.
Shall I share more examples? I taught three whole classes with my zipper down (high school, so yeah, they knew). I slammed on the breaks too fast in the snow and slid into a brand new BMW. I reserved a campsite 4 hours away from the park we went to (they had the same name though). I spilled red wine on a white carpet which was not my own (douse with white wine! It works!). I mistakenly called a woman “sir” while working at a cafe. I asked a little boy if he was having a fun day with his grandma – she was his mom, and she was standing right there.
The beauty of being human is that we also come with a sense of humor. And it helps to laugh at yourself for all the moments we aren’t making ourselves terribly proud. The truth is that it is so important to be able to laugh it off and say, “So, it turns out I didn’t park in this lot at all!” after wandering around for 10 minutes, because it disarms the lie that constantly whispers that mistakes are NOT acceptable.
For years I had forgotten how to laugh at myself because I was living with a critical, fault-finding person who would use every one of my mistakes to disrespect and chastise me.
Whether it was being 5 minutes late to my 7 years olds basketball game, or leaving hair in the tub, these signs of my humanity were not shrugged off. They were seen as an offense.
If you are with someone who does not tolerate your human moments, please consider that a red flag – a serious warning that they are not healthy. It has nothing to do with you – you are simply being human. Remember the snail? Not his fault. You can yell and lecture him all day and he still can’t cross the street any faster than he already is.
The truth is that narcissistic, self centered people relish your mistakes because it gives them ammunition to either belittle you, or play the victim to your “irresponsible” behavior. Either way they will feed on it to make themselves feel better. Often they will take it personally, like you disrespected them with your failure. Trust me. It doesn’t matter that you succeeded at 99% of your day. The 1% will be the one you hear about.
And don’t try to justify yourself or plead your case. They don’t care if you are right, they simply enjoy seeing you exhaust yourself trying to justify the mishap. Your attempts only add fuel to the fire.
The only way to deal with people who have no idea what it means to be a healthy human is: distance. Put as much of it as you can between them and you.
In Buddhism there is a beautiful saying: Silence is the best answer to someone who doesn’t value your words.
Seriously, don’t waste your breath.
You know yourself! You are NOT disrespecting the whole family by not making it to the kids karate class one evening because you were out taking a meal to a sick friend. You are not being irresponsible. You are being caring, and the traffic got backed up. Human moment. Things don’t work out perfectly.
You adjust, you make changes, you shrug it off.
Let yourself be human.
Give yourself permission to BE what you already ARE.
You can’t change it. And trying to appease another by constantly fearing mistakes will create a miserable life. You will spend everyday living in the equivalent of an emotional pressure cooker, where it just builds and builds until the inevitable eruption, at which point someone’s health (emotional and physical) is going to pay the price. Guess whose health that will be?
It simply is NOT WORTH IT. Let it go. If needed, let THEM go.
And truthfully, our human moments are what endear us to each other. I watched a woman walk straight into a glass wall trying to enter a Starbucks once. It didn’t make me judge her! I wanted to run out and hug her as she walked back to her car embarrassed. Why? Because we have all been there! When a colleague matter-of-factly shared with a group of us that she wet her pants that morning and had to teach the remainder of the day without underwear (there were spanx though), I immediately felt a kinship with her! I’ve been there! Suddenly we look at the people we admire and realize that they burn dinner too. They go to work with two different shoes on just like us. They forget make-up after a late night and have to resort to using magic marker on their face. Come on don’t tell you you can’t relate to at least one of these human moments!!! I’ve walked into screen doors, tripped over my dog, brewed entire carafes of coffee with the spout open, set steaks on fire in the broiler and had to put it out with a fire extinguisher… you get the idea.
I am totally, unabashedly, proudly human.
And it keeps life very entertaining.
Learn to accept and laugh at yourself, and please, distance yourself from anyone who can’t find the humor and even the beauty in simply living life as a wonderfully imperfect person. They are stealing all the fun out of being human!