Hi, my name is Stephanie and I love putting my foot in my mouth.
No, it’s not some contortionist foot fetish that I suffer from. It’s much worse. It’s my inability to censor my thoughts, which I all too often verbalize.
Yes, I’m very often times “that girl”.
- Ever asked a lady when she’s due when she wasn’t pregnant? I was eight.
- Ever been the person that had one too many drinks at the company Christmas party? Guilty.
- Ever accidentally called a ma’am a sir? Yup.
For me, the worst are the “at work blunders”. You know the ones you make while representing someone else? Double whammy. I have a nervous twitch after one time not hanging up on the voicemail a potential client who may or may not have heard a slew of cuss words coming out of my over-caffeinated (and over-opinionated) mouth. That was over a year ago and it still haunts my dreams. Always wait till the light goes off people, always.
Of all the things we experience in life, why is it so much easier to remember the embarrassing moments, and mistakes that we make over the accomplishments?
I think Penelopes are especially bad about doing this to themselves.
One slip of the tongue, one wrong turn, it’s over in seconds, yet it can hang over you for days, even years. Sometimes I’ll replay it in slow motion and hear myself scream “nooooooo” while trying to grab the words back before they slap my poor, unsuspecting victim in the face. It’s almost as if I actually enjoy reminding myself of all the times I’ve made an ass out of myself.
It’s weird. It’s unhealthy. And it needed to stop.
Since it’s inevitable that mistakes are going to happen, I needed to change the way I reacted to them. In an effort to keep it simple, here’s three steps to help you move forward and past yourself:
1. Own it.
Wear that crown of shame and call yourself out. If you need to apologize, then apologize. Just acknowledge it. You may not be saving face, but you’ll be saving yourself hours of wondering what they must be thinking or how it might play out, because it will play out. Then your imagination won’t be able to run rampant with a million different reactions, thoughts, and possible scenarios. Because if you’re like me, it’s sooo much worse in your own head. You’ll simply know and you won’t be left to wonder, and by wonder, I really mean obsess.
2. Replace it.
Remember earlier when I talked about the bad/embarrassing life experiences I’ve had coming to mind first? Well, pull a good one out of rolodex. Remind yourself of a time that you did something right. Whether it be the latest goal you met, or the last compliment you received. Remind yourself that you’re not simply a product of your mistakes, and that you are capable of great things. Just don’t do it out loud, then it gets awkward again.
3. Accept it.
The big takeaway here: we are all our own harshest critic. No one will ever judge us harder or hold a grudge longer than we will against ourselves. So the next time you want to bang your head on a desk while chanting “stupid, stupid, stupid” know that you’re not alone, and that person you’re expecting judgement from is really just glad that one more schmuck joined the club and they’re not eating at that table alone anymore. Because we’ve all been there, and we’re all repeat visitors.
Instead of quoting Frozen and having that damn song stuck in your head (too late!) I’ll leave you with words of wisdom from Steve Maraboli: