My BS Lunch Request: A Phone Call Would Have Fixed It All…
Disclaimer — This is my first article. Please be gentle and share some constructive feedback marvelous minds of Medium :).
I recently returned from a service trip that my previous supervisor generously offered their expertise and assistance for the last two years. They had planned and led this trip several times and recently relocated to the area. As an added bonus, they started working on one of the campuses in our itinerary. This year, I ended the conversation by inviting them to one of our group dinners. Well… we visited the city and the campus and I failed to contact them during or after the trip.
Approximately a week later, they sent a text to my colleague and I saying, they “were confused and saddened” because we visited and didn’t contact them. I was genuinely and sincerely ashamed and quickly replied to the text and immediately followed up with a phone call. I apologized for not contacting them and explained the circumstances surrounding the trip — not as an excuse, but to explain.
I wanted them to know that I accepted full responsibility and it was not a personal slight. I was sincerely and extremely stressed, mentally and physically exhausted and a little bit ashamed of my current circumstances. In short, I was dealing with a foot injury that drastically impaired my mobility and another chronic illness and did not anticipate the complications and how taxing this would be. In short, I was focused on me and my problems.
Yet, that does not negate my responsibility to have called or at the very least sent a text. I was wrong and it was selfish of me not to give someone the common courtesy of a call or text to say my plans had changed. I told them that I would have felt that same way. As a matter of fact, my favorite quotes are, “ it only takes a minute to call or text someone” and “you make time for the people you care about”.
So it’s 4:00 a.m. and I wanted to write about this because this person gave me yet another great experience and in a gem of wisdom, compassion honesty and sincerity which I may not have received from or offered to someone else. This is why I do, in fact, value their input even though I’m the elder in this relationship (not that it matters).
They called me out on my BS and I deserved it. My actions or lack thereof were hurtful and dismissive and honestly isn’t aligned with my core values or mission to be a better person. If I’m trying to genuinely live a life with purpose and mindfulness, I need to be open, honest and accountable. I offer this public apology and thanks (while protecting our privacy) for once again mentoring me from afar.
Sometimes we just have to own our BS with excuses or justification. I was wrong and if the roles been reversed I don’t think I would have been so gracious, brave or humble. I may have forgiven that person for not contacting me, but I would have been given them some serious side-eye and pause thinking that they had intentionally slighted me. Now, as a grow personally and professionally, I’m choosing to reflection and appreciative inquiry. So as I start this We Have To Do Better series with this and other stories from my journey do better because I cannot talk about or be an example of something I haven’t lived or experienced.
If you’re reading this, I hope it touches your heart and gives you some food for thought. Although it wasn’t my intention, I caused someone to feel hurt and sadness and I need to own it. I didn’t value myself or my promise. It never occurred to me that they were looking forward to seeing me — a familiar face from home. I didn’t consider their feelings of being alone in a new place away from family and friends (which they also shared).
I hope this helps you reflect on your own BS moments where you’ve unintentionally hurt or neglected someone. Own it, and sincerely apologize. Everyone has problems and life keeps moving, but when you value yourself and the people your life, you think about their feelings. It’s so easy to make excuses, cry foul, wallow in self-pity, anger, frustration or whatever emotions an incident brings up. Yet, we tend to gloss over when we disappoint or disrespect others.
People, we have to do better! If you have failed to follow up (which is a big issue for me) APOLOGIZE and deal with the consequences. There are enough bad feelings and karma floating around — we don’t need to add to it.
I’m hoping to start a movement of a million mended fences by helping others rebuild relationships through honesty, accountability. Confucius says, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. So make the first step, own your BS, apologize and DO BETTER!
Here is a link to Appreciative Inquiry