Surviving the Gut-Wrenching Mistake

  I’m sure you’ve experienced it before. That sudden horrible realization that you’ve forgotten something really important…like, um, your best friend’s birthday. One moment you’re fine, the next it feels like the floor has opened up and swallowed you whole. The flush of shame comes over you and all you want to do is curl up into a ball and disappear…or slink off while no one notices.   It sucks doesn’t it? Being hit in the gut with the realization that you messed up BIG TIME. You can apologize. You can call and text and email. But no matter how hard we try, there is no way to undo what has been done. No way to “fix it” or “make it better.”   As I’m sure you’ve guessed, this happened to me recently. Yup. Me, the queen of it’s-not-possible-to-make-too-big-a-deal-over-birthdays. I forgot my best friend’s birthday. (For the second year in a row, she now tells me – god, can it get any worse?) Sure I could fall back on excuses (aka “reasons”) that may actually be true, but the stark reality is that I Messed Up. Pure and simple. I hurt a woman I love dearly, a woman  who has not just walked beside me, but often carried me, literally and metaphorically, for more than 20 years.   What do we do when we screw up so badly with someone we really love?    First and foremost, we have to recognize that the flush of shame will pass and NOT act while we are in it. That flush – you know the heat that starts in your gut, moves often...

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