OOPS! I MADE A MISTAKE.
It happens. EVERYONE makes mistakes. You do too.
We are human beings, after all. We get tired, we forget, we drop or break things, we say things we didn't really mean, we do bad stuff. We also do great things: we help, take care, follow the rules, tell others how much we like them, we smile, we are generous, we have super ideas, we do good. But everyone makes mistakes from time to time.
What mistakes have you made recently?
One day last week, I forgot to put enough money in the bank account to pay some bills. It seemed like a huge mistake. I was really worried. I was afraid to tell Grandpa. I thought he might get mad at me since I had said I would take care of it. I wondered if I should tell him, or just wait until he found out. Of course, I did go to the bank later and got everything straightened out. It would cost us a small fine, but it was not really serious. But I only told him AFTER I had fixed everything with the bank. He was still a bit mad. He was disappointed that he couldn't count on me. I said I was sorry and that I would never do it again. But, I knew he thought about me a bit differently now. So I asked what I could do to make it up. He said 'Nothing. Forget about it.' But I still could feel he was annoyed.
When we make a mistake, it's important to clean it up. I mean correct the error, yes. But I also mean tell the person who is affected by it. And say sorry. Why? Because it makes us feel better, and not feel guilty. Guilt is just junk that we carry around and feel upset about if we don't clean it up. Guilt piles up and piles up, and, then whenever we are not feeling too good, it spills out and makes us feel even worse. Deal with it right away.
And yes, at first, that other person who was hurt might not 'forgive' you. After all, they don't have to! But, eventually they will. And then they will like you even more for being honest and cleaning up your mistake mess. Go ahead and say "I'm sorry". Do it for you.
Want to go the extra mile and earn that forgiveness sooner? Here's another tip: When you say I'm sorry, tell the person why you are sorry. I could have said something like this to Grandpa: "I forgot to put that money in the bank on time. I'm really sorry because I know it will cost us a fine, and you find that annoying and wasteful. And you probably feel disappointed in me. I already fixed it at the bank. And from now on, I'm going to be more careful about this because you matter a whole lot to me!" - or something like that. Imagine how surprised he would have been if I said all that. He probably would have just given me a hug :)
TELLING IT - the truth
I believe in speaking the truth as I know it. But I also believe that what I say should be 'generous' - said in a way that the person listening to what I say is not bored, or embarrassed, or shocked, or hurt. After all, if what I say is not generous, then maybe that person won't want to hear from me again.
Once I told a story about myself that was, well, 'exaggerated'. I said I did more than I actually did. I wanted the other person to like me more. But it was really a lie. At first I was happy that the person listened to me and seemed in awe of what I had done. I was a hero to them; I was like a famous person. I felt good that I had told the story like that and went away smirking and somewhat proud of myself.
But it all backfired. My friend told someone else what I had done. That person was amazed too, and so they told someone. Now several people thought I was something I was not. It was getting out of hand. I got nervous. Too many people knew.
So I went to my friend who had first heard the story and said not to tell it anymore.
"Why not?" she said.
"Because I sort of exaggerated about it," I said.
My friend then knew that I had not told the truth to her, and, because she had told the story too, she felt stupid and thought her friends would think she was not truthful. "You're a liar", she said. And she walked away.
Days later, when I saw my friend again, she was still upset with me. I said I was sorry, and she said it was OK. But it wasn't OK; from then onward, whenever I told my friend anything at all, she didn't believe me. She doubted everything I said. I had to tell her time and time again that I WAS honest. But for a long time she didn't believe it, and neither did the friends she knew.
So, I learned that TELLING IT LIKE IT IS is important - the first time you tell it; every time you tell it. It takes too long to 'undo' when you don't.
ABOUT Grandma Jane
"In writing this BLOG, I think of my own grandchildren and the questions they might ask me. But I could be 'Grandma' to anyone under the age of, well, 30! Because I have had many experiences in my life, and have learned from teachers everywhere, I do know some things and I'm willing to share them with you. Please write back and let me know how it works out in your life." (Jane Haque, a.k.a "Grandma Jane")
"The opinions expressed here are my own. What I say is neither right nor wrong, correct nor incorrect, accurate nor inaccurate. It is merely my thoughts at this time. Comments I have heard from others will appear in quotes (""); I will attempt to mention the name or initials of the person I quote. I can be a bit 'off the wall' in my statements, although I do promise my language will not be offensive or profane to most! In turn, although I am always flattered when others speak about me, please do attribute what I say or write to me alone, and give me credit for my words. Thank you." (Jane Haque)