Why yes, those are my feet. And yes, those are two very different brown shoes. Two very different brown shoes that just happen to have identical heel heights, so that if, say, you slipped them on in a hurry in the morning, you might not notice that you were wearing two very different brown shoes. In fact, you might not notice that you were wearing two very different brown shoes until halfway through your morning, when you’d already sat through several sessions.
And mind you, in my office, the seating is set up to be comfortable for having tough discussions–so there is no desk for my very different brown shoes to hide behind. Nope, they’ve been on view all morning.
I documented this fabulous footwear feat (pun intended, thank you very much) partly because I felt like my family & friends in distant places might like a laugh. But I also documented it to remind myself that mistakes happen. Sometimes shoes are mismatched. Sometimes it takes seven eggs to get four into the cake you’re trying to bake. Sometimes you try to express your feelings and end up hurting someone else.
I attended a continuing education training last week about the issue of shame. And then shame came up again last night in the Suicide Prevention and Social Media (#SPSM) tweetchat. I don’t know about you, but when I see themes emerging around me, I try to pay attention and figure out what I am supposed to learn from them. Maybe that’s just a psychologist thing. Or maybe it’s just what you have to do if you want to complete a post-a-day challenge.
And I’ll be honest with you, when I did finally notice the mismatched shoe specialness, I started into the shame spiral (hat-tip to Brene Brown for that very evocative phrase). I remembered that I notice shoes, so I assumed my clients do. I asked myself what kind of an idiot can’t get herself dressed in the morning. I wondered what it said about my professionalism that I could walk into the office with such mismatched shoes.
And then I stopped.
I took a few deep breaths.
I reminded myself that we were not talking about training. Or professionalism. Or my value as a human being. We were talking about shoes. And I offered myself a bit of compassion.
Then I walked out to show my billing manger. And I took a picture to share. And I laughed.
Because sometimes, it is one of those days. And I get to choose whether I let those petty moments that plague all of us determine how I feel about myself. I can’t avoid those days. We all face them. What I do have control over is whether I see those days as something outside of me, that is a hassle, but not really a big deal; or whether I internalize those days and assume that they are an indicator of how I have failed as a human being.
I choose to walk my talk. I choose to be kind. And share the picture later with a laugh and an acknowledgement that I’m human too.
How about you? How do you face those days?
Image Credit: Mismatched shoes–all me. Great comic–The-Lawn.net