The Power of Words

Let me start of by saying this is not going to be up to my usual standards of thought provoking hillarity.1 In fact, this may red line the shmultz-o-meter, so if you are not into that, go ahead and skip to the next post. Or go back and read a funny one.2

I made a boneheaded mistake today.

Yeah, yeah. Anyone who knows me is not going to be shocked by this revelation. Honestly, it is the kind of thing that happens so many times a day that I don’t even count them any more.
3 The problem today was that I was attempting to do something good. I know, intentions and paving stones. Still. No, it was not one of those “no good deed goes unpunished” deals either. I was working on something and I thought I had a pretty good idea. I acted on said idea. The results were...less than spectacular.

You should have figured out by now that you are only going to get vague references to the actual action. For the record: no one died, was injured, or was caused any lasting mental damage.
4 The only real victim was my ego. This is especially the case in that this particular gaff did not happen isolation, but it was brought to the attention of some other people (which, in my opinion, was completely warranted -- the people who were notified should have been notified so they could take steps to insure that similar mistakes do not happen in the future). Naturally, the people who were notified were ones I have only met recently. They are people I really wanted to impress.

Yeah, the mistake I made was made in the process of doing something I was hoping would impress them. Isn’t that always the way?

Before you ask, no, it wasn’t one of those “Pride goeth before a fall” things either. I wasn’t showing off on my rollerblades for the cool kids that just moved in up the block. I thought I was handling something in an appropriate way and a goofed it up a bit.

The person who found my mistake called me on it (again, rightly so in my opinion). You know that sensation when you are so embarrassed that you can actually feel the heat radiating off of your head? The one where you avoid looking in the mirror because you just know that your face is the color of cranberry juice? Then you do that thing where you paste the “yeah, I’m a dumbass” look on your face and stay silent because holy crap you’re over 40 years old but you feel like you’re about 7 and it would be super embarrassing if you were to start crying.

Yeah, that was me all over.

This was about where the post was going to end. I was going to say how I apologized, did what I could to rectify the situation, and then sat in the dark feeling like the biggest idiot ever. I was going to talk about how the words that others say might sting, but they are nothing compared to what you tell yourself. I was going to end with a discussion of what I was going to have to do to quell my own inner voices, blah blah blah.

Then something interesting happened. Something which totally jacked up the ending of this blog post.

I was contacted by the people I had been trying to impress. You know, the ones who were informed of my mistake? They got in touch with me to essentially tell me that while it was a pretty boneheaded error (ok, that was me talking again), it was really not that big a deal, not to worry about it, and that they supported me and I was doing a good job.

You know that feeling where your face is all red because you are embarrassed because someone is being genuinely nice to you and you don’t think you deserve it? That feeling that washes away some of doubts and quiets the voices a little?
5 That feeling that, seriously, are you 7 because you really do feel like you might cry?

Yeah. That happened. Apparently the words that people say in kindness are stronger than those that sting. They may even have power over the voices inside.

So remember that, as you go about your days. Words have power. Use them wisely.

1 Shut up.

2 I recommend
this or this

3 Yes I do. I count them all and replay them each night in a little vignette I call “Stupid Shit I Did Since The Sun Came Up.”

4 Well, we will have to see how I deal with this, I guess.

5 Anyone who thinks it completely erases the thoughts in my head has never really been in my head. Lucky bastards.

6 I think this is better than the original ending.