Posts Tagged With: dealing with mistakes

Day 1996: When I make a mistake …

When I make a mistake ….

  • I feel bad.
  • I admit it.
  • I dwell on it.
  • I try to forgive myself.
  • I can experience guilt and shame.
  • I might wake up in the middle of the night.
  • I worry about lasting effects.
  • I sometimes call myself “stupid.”
  • I make reparations as best I can.
  • I learn something.
  • I move on to other things (including new mistakes).

What happens when you make a mistake?

Make no mistake, we all make mistakes.

When I take photos, I usually share them, mistakes and all.

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When someone makes me a delicious meals, it would be a mistake not to eat it.

When I search YouTube for “When I make a mistake” I find this

this

… and this.

It would be a mistake not to express thanks to all who helped me make this post and — of course! — to YOU.

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Ooops!  I made a mistake taking that photo, so here’s a better “thank you.”

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Day 530: Circular Reasoning

On my 530th consecutive day, posting on WordPress,

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I woke up with the title of this post on my mind.

I realized that, sometimes, I like to leave a light on while I’m snoozing.

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Lots of the lights here have circles, including this one,

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… which I’ve owned for many years.

Michael, my boyfriend, is away for a week, so I am feeding the cats.

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When I take a photo on my iphone, sometimes it shows up, soon, on my laptop.

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Other times, I need to fool around with the phone and the laptop, so I can get the photo here.  Sometimes, I need to email a photo to my phone (like that photo above).

We mix these foods together, for Harley:

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Oscar, our other cat …

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… needs a different kind of special diet:

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Yesterday, it was pouring, so I decided to forego my walk and take the shuttle to work:

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I wore my headphones

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during the shuttle ride to work, but I wasn’t listening to music. Instead, I was looking at the comments from WordPress readers, in response to yesterday’s post.

I looked up and noticed that we were stuck, near historic Fenway Park:

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This is not unusual on this shuttle ride, during baseball season. The next time I looked up, I noticed that we had somehow circled back to our beginning:

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That was unprecedented, in my personal experience. I tried to get a shot of some statues I love in front of Fenway, as we moved past them the second time, but this was the best I could do:

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I also noticed this, on my way to work:

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That’s the wonderful doctor who treated my son, Aaron, almost exactly a year ago, when he ended up in the hospital with a spontaneous lung problem.

When I got to work, still wearing my headphones, I saw Jackie:

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I love Jackie. Because Jackie reads my blog, now she knows how I feel about her.

Last night, my son and I went to our usual Friday haunt, but without Michael. We took Aaron’s friend Clark with us.

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I noticed that our number was 13, on the Friday the 13th with a full moon — probably a once in a lifetime day. (At least, for me).

I know that last photo focuses on a square, rather than a circle, despite the title of this post.  I do have lots more photos of circles from today, though. And because I like games and puzzles, let’s make this into an eyeball bender (if you choose). In other words, can you identify all these objects?

#1:

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#2:

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#3:

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#4:

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#5:

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#6:

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#7:

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#8:

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#9:

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#10:

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#12:

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#13:

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Oooo!  You know what happened, for the first time ever, as I was composing this?  My worst fear, regarding my daily WordPress postings: I accidentally pressed the publish button, too soon.

As Michael sometimes says, “You’ll live.”  And I did.

Thanks to Michael, Jackie, my son, my readers, and all the other people who make my life better (even when I’m going in circles or making mistakes), no matter what day it is.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , | 36 Comments

Day 489: Mistakes and Consequences

Wow!  That’s quite a title: “Mistakes and Consequences.” I wonder if that sounds too grim or lecture-y … and might scare some readers away.

Since I don’t know (1) what I’m going to write here or (2) how other people are going to react, why should I wonder (or worry)?

Okay, I won’t!

So, where did that title come from?

This morning,  before I began writing this, I made a mistake on this blogging site. It’s a mistake I commit quite regularly, in This World of Living Non-Judgmentally.

Here’s the mistake: When I am trying to respond to the latest comment on a post here, I often erroneously create a new comment, instead of creating a response.

Here’s my theory about why I repeat this error so often: The layout of my blog page invites me to make this error.

I am actually a bit embarrassed to confess these multiple mistakes, today.  Why?  Because I believe I’m capable of learning from my mistakes, and this kind of on-going erring might seem to contradict that.

And based on past evidence, I can learn from mistakes. However, for whatever reasons, there are certain errors I make over and over again.  And this Response-Misplacement Mistake is one I’ve been making since I started this blog, and it’s one I just …can’t …. seem …. to shake.

I continue making this mistake even though I am aware of it — that is, I’m vigilant about my tendency to make it.

I continue to make this mistake even though I am aware of the consequences and consider them important.

Ah, the consequences.  And what ARE the consequences?

Well, if I create a new comment — instead of replying to a reader’s comment as I intend —  then, the commenter will not get a notification about my reply. To the reader who made the comment, it may seem like I have NOT noticed nor responded, even though I really have.

So what?

Well, this is one of my major concerns — here and elsewhere — which is related to communication and connection. I dread a disconnection. I worry about responses that go unheard or received.

Why?

Because, based on personal experience (and clinical research1), I know this:  When somebody communicates something and there is no response…. that can cause the reaction of shame.2

I’m not saying that my (1) responding (2) not responding, or (3) not seeming to respond to a comment is necessarily that important to anybody else. Also, regular readers of my blog probably know that I avoid shaming anybody else, if possible.  So chances are that people would understand and forgive this mistake of mine.

Nevertheless, I spend a lot of time and energy — here and elsewhere — trying to NOT shame people.

Why?

Because I know how much shame can hurt.

So, where do I go from here, with this post?

I will declare these things, to be evident:

  1. I do my best to respond back to comments.
  2. I am prone to making a particular mistake3 here, that might create an appearance or impression that I have NOT responded (even when I think I have).
  3. When I discover this mistake, I fix4 it, which means readers might get a notification about a very old comment.
  4. When I make that kind of fix, I wonder how that appears to people, too.
  5. I am working on letting go of concern about what other people think, in general.

Well, as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I don’t know what reactions this blog post might evoke in others, but … it sure has helped me, to write it.

What now?

Well, I may have made another mistake here, today. That is, I wanted to show you some pictures I took yesterday, and I’m not sure whether I’ve created a framework where those photos will fit in.

But looking at declaration #5, above …. who cares?

Let the photo sharing begin!

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I took that photo, yesterday. Possible mistake? Going outside. Possible consequences? Slower recovery from my pneumonia.

I’m going to pause the photo sharing, for one moment, to declare these things, which may (or may not) be evident:

  1. Subsequent photos may share the same mistake and consequences.
  2. I believe I am okay.

Where was I?  Oh, yes … photos from yesterday.

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That’s the same location shown above, with a different perspective.

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This is the refrigerator door belonging to my son’s piano teacher.  As I was taking this shot yesterday, my son asked, “What’s Whirlpool?”  I realized, at that moment, that my son has yet to descend into the World of Major Appliances (unlike his mother, who is still dealing with an Evil Stove-Top).

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I had to return to the dentist yesterday.  I saw the above doorway, nearby. I am not making this up.

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Something else I noticed, near my dentist‘s office.

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Now, isn’t that the perfect concluding photo for this piece, about mistakes and consequences?  I mean, it shows me getting ice cream on the same day I had to go to the dentist, people!

That’s not why I took the picture, though.  Rania (pictured above, with cone) complimented me on my t-shirt, which was this one:

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That t-shirt is a direct outgrowth of my blogging.  So, I told Rania about this blog and she kindly agreed to appear in a  post. Thank you, Rania!

Hmmmm.  Maybe that’s NOT the perfect photo to end this piece about Mistakes and Consequences.

What about this one?

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Why is THAT photo a good ending for this post? Because when we introduced our second cat, Harley (left), to Oscar (accustomed to ruling the roost for many years) last October, we thought it might be a mistake. The possible consequences? Two unhappy cats.

Equally possible, as I realized back then: No mistake and no consequences.

What do you think, dear readers?

Thanks to people who make mistakes, to all those brave enough to take action (despite fear, shame, concerns about what other people will think, and other obstacles), to those who comment (here or elsewhere), to anybody who has experienced a blogging mistake of mine, and to you — of course! — for reading today.


1 As usual, I am not citing any formal articles or research.  This is MY blog, people, and I’m not in school anymore, so I don’t NEED to back things up with other people’s writings. Yippee!

2 Other posts I’ve written about shame include here, here, here, and here. Yes, I have no shame about linking to my own writings.

3 If you don’t know what that mistake is, you might need to start reading this post over again, from the beginning.

4 Here’s how I fix that mistake: (1) I copy what I originally wrote (sometimes many months ago) into the correct “response box” and (2) I trash the original comment. Hey!  I never promised that my footnotes would be particular (1) illuminating or (2) interesting.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 59 Comments

Day 382: Why I was judgmental about yesterday’s blog post

I was unhappy with yesterday’s post, called “Different Ways,” because:

  1. I left out the traditional first word — “Day” —  from the post title (for the first time in three hundred and eighty-one days), which I didn’t notice until much later  (at which point I fixed it).
  2. I left out the driving point of that post, entirely, because I was feeling guilty about something.

I hope to fix that, now.

I confess, dear reader. I concealed something from you, yesterday. As Diana Schenk, one of my favourite readers and writers here at WordPress, wrote in a comment to yesterday’s post:

avoidance is one of favourite strategies. Well not really, but I do it anyway! haha

Thank you for that comment, Diana.

So, yes, in yesterday’s post I avoided saying something. I used indirect, rather than direct communication.1 And, as a result, yesterday’s post suffered.

Many of my readers still liked yesterday’s post, and for that I’m truly grateful. I’m not going to act like Eddie Van Halen, who berated somebody for praising his guitar work, when Mr. Van Halen knew his playing could have been better.2

Nevertheless, I was aware of my judgment about that blog post, all day. And, last night, I reality-tested3 that judgment, by asking my bf, Michael,  to read the post, and to tell me what he thought of it.

And this is what  Michael said: “It wasn’t one of your better ones.  And I was thinking, as I read it, ‘Isn’t this sort of about the car accident you just had?'”

And it was.

Now, before people get concerned, let me say this: Not to worry.  I was in a minor fender bender, a couple of days ago, is all.  The accident was so minor, that it’s possible that the other driver is not going to report the damage to the insurance company.  But I still feel some shame about it, because the accident was completely my fault.

Here’s what happened:  I was driving home from work, with  Waze (the GPS system I wrote about in yesterday’s post) on my cell phone, guiding me home.  Waze’s familiar voice and the surprising ways she sometimes alters the route  can help me let go of anxiety I sometimes feel, after a long day working at the hospital.

The ride home, on that particular night, wasn’t easy, because it was foggy, dark, and pouring rain. And Waze brought me home a different way, which involved at least one scary, unfamiliar maneuver into heavy traffic.

I’m not blaming Waze, mind you.  Waze was doing the best she could.  And I made it through that difficult traffic maneuver, just fine.

However, soon after that, when I was back on a familiar part of my route home, I stopped at a red light.  At that point, a text message came through on my phone from somebody I care about. I thought it might relate to something important, and …. BAM!  I had rolled into the car in front of me.

I felt awful, because this was totally my fault.  I had been distracted by my cell phone, just like those people in anti-texting  public service ads, who have done terrible damage.

The other driver and I exchanged information, in the pouring rain.  Her car had a little bit of damage. My car had none.

I reported the accident to my insurance company and — as far as I know — the other driver hasn’t reported it, yet. And no matter what she does, it’s going to be okay. It wasn’t the crime of the century.4 However, it WAS a serious mistake on my part, even though the consequences, in this case, were small.

As always, I learned something from my mistake. And, I’m going to figure out ways NOT to get distracted by texts that come in while I’m driving.

If you now read yesterday’s blog post, after finding out my secret, maybe you’ll see how that story was lurking there, in certain places.  Or maybe not. It was lurking there for me, while I was writing, even though I didn’t name it in the post.

I’m glad I’m naming it now.

So, as I end this post, what image should I include?  I have  photos on my iPhone of the other driver’s license and registration, but that’s REALLY inappropriate to share. What IS appropriate to share, right now?

Maybe something from Google Image, about a phrase I’ve written about before.

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I’m glad I’m saying that now, too.

One more thing, before I end. I’m remembering, for some reason, a metaphor that somebody used yesterday, at work. This woman was talking about how she felt shame about her sadness and grief, because she wasn’t used to crying in front of people. She said,

It’s like I’ve kept a curtain down in front of those feelings, my whole life, and now the curtain is up. And I can’t control it.

I thought that was a wonderful metaphor, for the experience of shame. She and I discussed how the worst part of that, for her, was the lack of control over the curtain.

So, dear readers, I’m glad I took control, today, and raised a curtain, here.

Thanks to everybody who has been hurt — or who has unintentionally hurt somebody else — no matter what the extent of the damage. And a special thanks to you, for visiting.


  1. When I tried to link to a previous post about that topic, just now, I discovered another mistake I’d been hoping to avoid: I gave the same title to different posts: here and here.

  2. Michael told me that story, about Eddie Van Halen and a reporter at one of his concerts, last night.

  3. See this list for more about reality testing (and other helpful antidotes for unhelpful thoughts and behaviors).

  4.  This is something I sometimes say to myself, when my conscience is being over-active, like recently, when I took a rain check for a sale item that a store was out of, and then decided not to use the rain check the next time I saw the item was back on the shelf, but rather save it for a time when the item was no longer on sale.5

  5. If you understand this story, I assume that you have an over-active conscience, too.

  6.  I found that image, here, at Lia Halsall’s blog.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , | 30 Comments

Day 318: Other people’s mistakes

I’ve written several times, this year, about perfectionism. (For example, herehere, and here.)

Nobody is perfect — including the writer and the readers of this post.  As humans, we all make mistakes, every day. (Probably, we all make mistakes every hour.)

I react differently to the Making of Mistakes, though, depending upon who is doing the mistake-making.

When I realize that I have made a mistake, this is my usual response:

I feel awful.

Here are some typical, automatic thoughts I have:

Oh, no!  I made a mistake!  I should have paid better attention. This is really going to be a problem for other people, too.  What’s the matter with me?

It’s a different story, though, when somebody else makes a mistake. Often, I forgive other people their mistakes.

It’s much easier to remember that everybody makes mistakes, when it’s everybody else.

However, when somebody makes a mistake that has a direct, negative impact on me,  that’s a different story, too.

Then, this is my usual response:

I feel awful.

Here are some typical, automatic thoughts I have:

Oh, no! This other person made a mistake!  And that really caused me some discomfort. What do I do now?  How do I tell them about it? They’ll probably think it’s MY fault, too!  How can I prove it’s NOT? Maybe it IS my fault, somehow! And what if it’s NOT my fault and they don’t own up to that? THEN what do I do?   Also, if I mattered and was important enough to them, they would have been more careful!  Now I’m angry!  NOW what do I do? If I express my anger, I’ll probably alienate them!  I don’t want to lose them!  But I don’t want to pretend that it’s all okay with me, either, because it’s NOT!

This is what I notice about THAT, now.

When somebody else makes a mistake, I tend to have MORE thoughts.

Why?

Well, I’m really used to my own mistakes. I KNOW (by living with myself) how imperfect I am: I’ve got lots of proof about that. At times in the past, I’ve thought of myself as a screw-up — somebody who constantly make mistakes.

So THAT’s familiar.

But, somehow, I’ve never gotten used to other people’s mistakes.

Why is that?

This is my best guess, right now: When I was a little kid, I needed important people — upon whom I depended —  to NOT make major mistakes.  (And they made mistakes, of course. They were human.)

I know I’m not alone, in that.

Here’s a personal example of that: I  needed the doctors keeping me alive —  through surgeries and new technologies — to NOT make major mistakes. Big time.

So, my wish —  even as an adult — is that people NOT make mistakes. But they do, of course, every day.

Also, if somebody makes a mistake that has a negative effect on me and doesn’t own it, I can feel some anger about that (naturally). And as I wrote, two days ago, I can be a little clueless about anger, once I have it.

So there you have it: My reactions to other people’s mistakes.

It’s easy for me to write this post today, dear readers, because somebody — whom I’ve yet to meet —  made a mistake last night which did have a negative impact on me.  At this writing, the person is not owning the mistake, which may or may not change.

This is what I’ve done, so far, this morning, to deal with this:

  1. I wrote an e-mail to the person, pointing out the facts.
  2. By focusing on the facts, I let go of any wish to affect the other person’s feelings about this in any way.
  3. I worked on this blog post.

All those things helped.

What’s missing, for me, right now?

A cool image, for this post!

My next step: consult my iPhone for recent photos.

Oh!  Here’s one:

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Recently, I saw this hand-written message on a sign, regarding a overdue repair to a machine.

So there you have it, my dear readers:  Another way to respond to other people’s mistakes.

Thanks to everybody who makes and responds to mistakes and to you — of course! — for visiting here today.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

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