Photo: Jason Edwards
Wait, what did I say? Was that out loud?
Yep, I did it again. Said some things I shouldn’t have. Didn’t handle the situation as best as I could have.
Now I had to do damage control to clean up the mess I had made.
I don’t always stop to think how my words will affect others. Do you? I try to. But, like most of us, I determine that end result based on my intent, not on my accompanying actions — forgetting the communication I provide is a packaged deal.
When I find I do my worst is when I encounter a situation I hadn’t prepared for mentally, as was the case this time. Having gotten off work early, I had envisioned going home, having the house to myself, and relaxing for an hour or so. Only to find that one of my children, whom I thought would be at work, was home with a friend. I hadn’t expected that. It turned my world upside down. Threw off my groove.
Hindsight is always 20-20. I know now what I should have done, how I should have handled the situation, and how I wish I had. I also know what I actually did and how my carelessness could have affected my relationships with those two people.
I had to do damage control. And yes, that meant apologizing for my wrongdoing, saying those two little words I’ve grown better at saying over the years. I guess that’s because I’ve finally given myself grace. I no longer expect my words and actions to be perfect. I know I make mistakes. And I like to acknowledge them, make amends, and move on.
I didn’t care if the other parties had apologies or not. It wasn’t about that. I knew that what I had done was wrong, and I wanted to make it right. And fast. So that’s what I set out to do.
This situation reminded me how far I’ve come in that I didn’t completely blow up at the individuals like, unfortunately, I’ve done in the past. I also was quick to see my wrongdoing and make things right. But it showed me that I still have work to do to get to a place where I won’t need to perform damage control.
And one of the best ways to avoid that is not to react to emotions. Because when emotions are high, wisdom is low. Thankfully, I’m still a work in progress.
Christian, wife, mother of 5, breast cancer survivor, marathon finisher, writer and editor, author of "Help! I'm a Science Project"