In a post I read on medium the other day, the writer said something I thought was incorrect. I was surprised, because he seemed pretty knowledgeable.
Normally, I don’t try to correct people — it’s almost never received well.
But this one sentence in his post really bugged me, because I’d lived through the era he was discussing, and I wanted to bring a little clarity to the topic.
So I made a very terse comment stating what I thought to be correct. I was surprised that he didn’t know the facts of the issue.
Another reader replied to my note calmly questioning my comment.
My first reaction to the reader was a knee-jerk,
“Seriously? Look it up!”
Well. I decided to look it up, myself.
It would have been really easy to continue being obstinate about what I’d said … but it was also easy to dive into curiosity.
Enter stage right: Oops 101.
What I found made me jerk back and see how badly I was showing my ignorance.
I’d wanted to see if this reader was right ….
Turned out — erm — yeah, he was.
So now I could either go crawl in a hole and wallow in shame and embarrassment.
Or, I could fess up and acknowledge that I was wrong, and thank him for helping me see something I didn’t know, that enabled me to pop out of my ignorance.
So I did. He was surprised that I had ditched my little weeny ego for learning something new, and actually admitting it. I was grateful for the kudos.
We’ve had a fun conversation since then. Very gratifying.
I used to be obsessed with being right.
I wanted to be the one who knew the facts about things, the one who was the smartest (because in truth, I didn’t believe I was smart at ALL), or the one in control of the narrative. That made me feel safe, somehow.
A ten-day bleed-your-deepest-secrets workshop when I was 40 helped me get over that, and to begin to see the value of being more humble and open to other peoples’ ideas.
I also learned how to apologize, and to back off when it was clearly evident how wrong or mistaken I was.
Being more open and being able to apologize — priceless.
It’s taken years — decades — to build up my capacity to stop the internal I-have-to-be-right and open up to other realities.
But it’s paid off. It has helped me tremendously not only to keep communication lines open, but to do what I’m here for: love and be loved. Spread beauty.
How can I love if I’m not open to you, your different ideas and actions, without judgement? Can’t.
How can I be loved if I’m a stuck-in-my-own-opinions asswipe? Can’t.
How can I create and spread beauty if I’m not open to seeing it everywhere, even if it’s out of my range of understanding? Can’t.
It’s a constant vigil.
Watching my thoughts, being aware of how what I allow to flow from my lips and my fingertips affects people.
I find myself actually saying less and less, and doing my best to only speak if/when something is important to me, or when I know I can lift someone.
I surprised myself by making that comment on the post.
As I said before, I don’t usually try to correct people. Usual being the key word here … Hah! Here I’d thought I’d learned not to open mouth/spout!
But I’m willing to say yeah, I goofed.
We gain a lot of credibility just by being raw and honest, especially when we screw up.
After all, we ARE human! But that’s what’s so cool — we get to fuck up … and then know we can make it better by admitting it to our crowd — who love us more for doing so. I’ve found that people actually even thank me for being vulnerable.
The neatest thing about admitting I’ve been wrong has been that each time, it was an open door to learn new things I had no clue about before. I love that! That’s way more important to me than my little quivering ego!
In my last comment on the comment thread, I wondered if eating crow is as nasty tasting as humble pie — maybe I should search for recipes — or maybe make up my own!
Thanks for reading my story!
Is it better to just let things go, risk being criticized or countered or even cancelled, because of making a mistake?
Or to say yeah, I messed up.
What do you think?
Got A Recipe for Eating Crow?
© Angela Treat Lyon 2023
© Angela Treat Lyon 2023