About an hour into it, I popped my head in to see how it was going. Looking down at the main bathroom floor, I saw that all the edges of the tiles were in rigid straight lines on all sides. A little puzzled, I asked, "oh, you're not staggering the tiles?" Steve's response was immediate. Oh no, what had he done, he said aloud. He chided himself for missing the obvious. How could he have done this? What a waste of time and materials, he scolded.
My reaction was equally quick. I was very grateful and appreciative of his effort, and although I preferred the staggered pattern, realized that this linear style wasn't a "mistake", just a different way of doing it. I was in awe that he even knew how to do tiling (I'm not great at household repairs, so I admire those who are). I thought all these things in the span of half a second (emotions move faster than words), and then I spoke.
After gingerly assessing the situation, I pointed out that it wasn't too late to make a change, that all the tiles didn't need to be lifted and replaced, only the alternate rows. He had finished partial rows at this point, so that meant a total of six tiles that needed lifting and replacing. Whew, what a relief! What at first seemed overwhelming was now very manageable.
We removed the fresh tiles, got the new ones ready and in about a half hour, Steve had caught up and recovered from this oversight. I then realized that he hadn't yet eaten breakfast, so I made a couple toasts and brought it to him.
As I was waiting for the toaster, I got thinking how my immediate response was one of support and problem-solving. I said nothing but positives. Then I compared that to how I would have talked to myself if it had been ME who messed up. I can assure you, I would have been harsh.
So here's the lesson: be as supportive to yourself when you mess up as you are with other people.
Cut yourself some slack. We're all human and none of us is perfect. It's OK to make mistakes, because if you're never making mistakes, you're not trying hard enough.
How we speak to ourselves evidences how worthy we think we are, and this becomes the foundation of how we believe we deserve for the world to speak to us. Next time when you're ready to give yourself a tongue lashing, step back and ask how you would respond if you were talking to someone you loved, someone who was doing the best he or she knew how, someone you valued. That "someone" is you.
How you communicate with yourself, your self-talk, influences how others communicate with you. Teach them well.
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Until next time, here's to ...
© 2010 Marion Grobb Finkelstein
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