On Yom Kippur, we’re given a day to atone for our sins, to clean the slate, to clear our conscience, and to generally make things right, while we fast for 24 hours as payment and punishment for the past year’s misdeeds.
And when it’s all over, we go back to hiding our flawed selves again, burying our shame and wrongdoings as deeply as possible, never to see the light of day until we bring them out again next year for reflection and renewal.
I say atone it AND own it. Not just for one day, but for LIFE.
Looking back, maybe you did some things in life that you’re not proud of; maybe you made some poor choices or unwise decisions; maybe you did some dumb shit that sabotaged you or hurt others; maybe you acted impulsively, or didn’t act at all when you should have.
In other words, you fucked up. Join the club, we’ve all been members at one time or another.
But rather than beat yourself up for it, is it possible to accept your fuck-ups with a sense of respect instead of regret? Is it possible to see your failures and mistakes not as liabilities, but as assets that gave you more character, depth, and soul?
You may have fucked up, but you’re not shit out of luck: the wrong choices you made yesterday could very well be taking you to the right places today.
Instead of letting your screw-ups get the best of you, why not make the best of them? I say embrace your perfectly beautiful imperfections, and make peace with your flaws because chances are, they made you who you are today: someone who’s smarter, wiser, stronger, and more resilient.
This is why fucking up can be beautiful. It gives you incredible gifts of insight and clarity, as well as opportunities to put your guilt and remorse to good use: like making positive life changes and staying on the path of right action.
Fucking up will test you, tease you, torment you, and ultimately teach you things about yourself you never knew. The key is learning the lessons. You never want to waste a perfectly good fuck-up by not learning from it (nor would you want to ruin one by repeating it).
I’ve had some doozy fuck-ups in my day: I squandered time and opportunities; I either wasn’t thinking, wasn’t aware, or wasn’t paying attention; I missed the boat, took my eye off the ball, and made unforced errors. I wish I could go back in time and do it over, but I can’t. I can only be thankful for the lessons I learned and the wisdom it gave me.
In other words, I fuck up, therefore I am.
Everyday we have a chance to make things right; to make amends and to move forward. And of course, everyday we have a chance to practice FORGIVENESS: fucking up’s best friend.
Just remember, “To err is human; to forgive, divine.” To actually do that, awesome.
My friend therapist Dr. Margaret Rutherford says it perfectly in her latest blog “How To Step Away From Paralyzing Shame:”
“You can call it forgiving yourself. You can use use faith in a higher Being to help you let it go. You can acknowledge you are human. You can see yourself with compassion. Tell yourself what you would tell your best friend. Realize you were learning something vital. You can do things to try to atone, things that will help you move past it. It takes work, but it can happen. It must happen for you to move on.”
I’m fairly certain that fucking up makes one a better person. We’re all a work in progress, and the learning process never stops. Trial and error, live and learn, you know the drill. The challenge is to remove judgment and condemnation from your path so you can turn self-loathing into self-loving.
Atone it and own it. Just don’t fuck it up.