The Easy Place

The Quest for Self Awareness One Moment at a Time

Whoops, I Farted!

Girl With Striped Fingernails Covering Face

Image by Pink Sherbet Photography via Flickr

It was a fart.  No matter how hard I tried to ignore it, it was definitely a fart.  I was in my 20’s and was playing a board game one evening with a couple of high schoolers at the community center where I worked.  And I let a fart slip out.  It wasn’t particularly loud or unpleasant, but it was clearly a fart. 

So what did I do?  I sat there, my face blazing, and pretended like nothing had happed. 

As the kids started to giggle I pretty much froze, nonchalantly staring down at the table in front of me as if something fascinating had just appeared.

All it would have taken was a smile and a “Whoops, excuse me!” to neutralize the moment, but I persisted in pretending it didn’t happen.  Which meant that my fart became seared into my memory as one of my most embarrassing moments ever.  

The blunders we make in life are very much like my fart that day.  And, just like that fart, we can either acknowledge them and move on or we can exacerbate them by trying to ignore them. 

I talk a lot about my vulnerabilities in my blog, like my description of the times I felt inferior to my friends, or when I felt insecure when trying to help a colleague.  It’s kind of funny that I get praised for being so forthcoming, for being willing to talk about my failures, because all those momentary weaknesses and blunders don’t really feel very significant to me.  Who cares if, when I was 30, I was embarrassed because I wasn’t making very much money?  Or that I can still be intimidated by someone that seems smarter than me?  Those passing thoughts don’t define me any more than the pimple I had last week does.  I struggled with them when they were happening, but in the long run they didn’t really change anything except maybe make me a bit wiser. 

Our mistakes, big and small, are just moments in our lives.  And even the stuff that sticks around, the stuff that provides fuel for our insecurities, is still just a tiny part of who and what we are.  It’s when we treat our failures and slip-ups as more than that, like I treated my fart that day, that they tends to stick around longer than they should.

My “life-farts” these days are usually metaphorical – jokes that don’t land (or, heaven forbid, that offend), saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, or overstepping bounds.  It’s all part of the same big soup of stuff that I wished didn’t happen but did.  But I’ve found that the best way to move past all that junk, really the only way, is a simple acknowledgement and then just moving on.

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One response to “Whoops, I Farted!

  1. Pingback: 3 Steps to Confidence « The INFJ Coach

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