To say that I am a klutz might be an understatement.
I run into doors with my head. I run into things with my car. I spill something every other day. I lose things all. the. time. I get stuck in awkward places (like my head in a fence at the zoo when I was five)…
Lately, I’ve been paying attention to the way I react to myself when this side of me comes out:
Usually it’s: “Abigail, you idiot!”
“You just wasted all that money on fixing your car; you’re so stupid.”
“Open your eyes and watch where you are going! You are careless!”
Of course, I speak about silly every-day mistakes, but there are faults inside of me that go much deeper, and mistakes I have made that have much heavier consequences than just a stain on my shirt from spilled coffee.
It’s not difficult for us to see our weaknesses, our faults, and our failures. In fact, most of us probably keep pretty good track of them. We compare ourselves to others, precisely locating and mentally notating all of the big and small ways we don’t measure up to them.
And when we see these things about ourselves, we usually handle them in one of two ways:
- We choose to ignore them. We make excuses and convince ourselves and others that our weaknesses and failures are not even real. If we push it under the rug, that means it’s not a problem:
“No, I’m not jealous of her. I just don’t like who she is.”
“It’s not that I’m not disciplined, it’s just that I don’t have time.”
“Well, I didn’t get that promotion because I didn’t try very hard.”
- We use our shortcomings to fuel our self hatred, guilt, and shame.
As women, we probably choose this option most often. We take our mistakes and inadequacies and use them as weapons in the war of self talk. And in the process, we steal a tremendous amount of joy from ourselves and we severely limit our potential.
But what if there is a third option?
What if we were able to honestly accept our faults and failures for what they are and then use them as fuel for our greatness instead of our shame?
After all, we are humans. Yes, we know by now that we “should be” perfect. We are told often enough by magazines and commercials, Pinterest boards and movie stars, even school teachers, parents, and churches. But, most often, it is our very own thoughts that provide the constant stream of degrading insults and unrealistic expectations. The truth is, though: we are human beings. We are not supposed to be perfect. Our flaws are part of what makes us magnificent and what makes life exciting… if we let them.
What if we were able to honestly accept our faults and failures for what they are and use them as fuel for our greatness instead of our shame?
I propose we fight together to find a new balance. One where we are able to honestly accept our faults and failures for what they are, while also giving ourselves grace. Let’s even consider the idea that admitting and accepting our weaknesses as an act of giving ourselves grace, allowing us to grow and experience more freedom, and therefore live lives that are full of more substance and joy. What if we were able to accept the fact that we are human and let that propel us forward, instead of letting it cripple us?
If we can figure this out, it will change everything.
If we are able to find this balance where we treat ourselves like real human beings, (weak and flawed, yet valued and capable of slow and steady change) it will most certainly revolutionize the way we interact with others and has the potential to transform our relationships in every area of our lives.
First: we will view the people around us in a different light. Once we are able to give ourselves the grace we need in order to move forward in a healthy way, we will find ourselves no longer starving for validation from others to shake off the shame we carry around. We will instead carry around a humble confidence in ourselves and who we are as individuals in all of our humanity and will be able to serve the people around us instead of seeking to get something from them.
Second: We will set an example for others in the way that we speak to ourselves. We can create whole communities that are fueled by grace and patience instead of guilt and shame. We can change the entire culture and the way it functions. We can bring back the lost art of authenticity and let it soak into each interaction of our every day.
But we have to start with ourselves.
Look closely at the way you speak to yourself when you mess up or when you find something about yourself you don’t like. Are you willing to balance honesty about your faults and failures while infusing a whole lot of grace into your inner dialogue as well? This balance will propel you toward joy and freedom within yourself and your relationships, and will continue to mold you into the magnificent human that you are.
Photos by Whitney Darling Photography