Screwing up or totally screwed up?

Posted: April 7, 2011 in Battle Plans - living whole & healthy
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Screwing up or totally screwed up?

Have you ever been around someone (or maybe it’s you) that seems to be constantly putting themselves down… especially when they’ve made a mistake? I have a close friend who I often hear saying after realizing they’ve messed up, “I am so stupid… or I’m really screwed up” – or something of the sort.  Honestly, it bugs me when people do that!!  Why?  Because I know they are not! They just don’t know the difference between guilt and shame.   Guilt is a good thing – it’s the reaction of our conscience that we’ve done something that needs correcting, fixing, and forgiving.   That is healthy.  Shame on the other hand is when we tell ourselves that because we did something ‘bad’ that automatically makes us ‘bad’ – that when we’ve screwed up that makes us a screw up!  That is not true!  Let me repeat myself – just because you and I sometimes do things, say things and think things that are not always the best, that doesn’t make us stupid, a screw up, a dummy, useless or as my dad used to say “worthless at nipples on a bore-hog”.

Guilt is healthy – Shame is not! Guilt allows us the opportunity to make things right and then move on. Guilt can be dealt with swiftly and cleanly and then it goes away, but shame sticks around and eats at us like a ‘cancer’ – and is not so easy to get rid of.  I can remember as a kid, I used to like running around barefoot, riding my bike off jumps, climbing trees, etc. (oh the carefree life!) – anyway, I would sometimes cut my foot open, crash my bike or fall out of the tree… all of which would cause me to come to my parents for first aid or trips to the doctor!.  They would quickly clean up the wound, stop the bleeding, sometimes stitches, put Neosporin on it, bandage it up and off I’d be playing again like nothing ever happened.  My parents recognized I was hurt (often associated with pain) and chose to deal with it swiftly.  Why?  One, was to stop me from crying and screaming in pain, but the other was that they knew if not treated with proper care, the likelihood of infection was great!  And if it did get infected, there could be major issues including infection spread, lots of medication, increased pain and up to potential amputation. Needless to say, not good!  Just like quickly responding to an injury, we must quickly respond to our ‘conscience’ when we know we’ve ‘messed up’.  If we choose to wait, or not do anything at all, our mess up could get ‘infected’ and move rapidly into ‘shame’… which is much more difficult to get rid of.

Here are a few ‘first-aid’ pointers to help the ‘wound’ (the mess up) heal quickly and not develop into an ‘infection” (shame) –

  1. Be the ‘man’ or ‘woman’ and be the first to make it right, fix the problem, ask for forgiveness
  2. Keep it simple, but be genuine – look people in the eyes
  3. Regardless if ‘part’ of the problem was what someone else did – that is their issue.  Don’t point the finger.  Set the example and simply take responsibility for your part
  4. If it’s your children that you need to make something right with, don’t hesitate.  Do it quickly and reassure them that you love them.  You are setting a positive example that will reap tremendous benefits in the future.
  5. Stop!  If you have to keep asking for forgiveness for the same thing over and over… please stop the madness, for yourself and for those around you – ask for help!  Too often, we are not able to conquer these repeat issues on our own.

Choose to live healthy… deal with issues when they come – don’t procrastinate and be careful what you speak out about yourself.  Your own well-being and those around you depend upon it.





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