Call It What It Is

Christine Schaefer

Christine Schaefer


Last week I realized that I went to pursue my nursing degree far too soon. I went back slowly…..class by class with a two-week old baby and two toddlers, while my husband was a mere shadow in our lives due to his hectic work schedule. WHAT WAS I THINKING? The good news? I graduated with a degree, but not in nursing. The bad news? That time was fraught with chronic, needless anxiety that I had heaped on my plate. This timing mistake (yes, mistake because I should have known better but charged ahead anyway), was one that I learned a great lesson from, once I was open enough to receive it.

I have learned numerous lessons from my many mistakes, and am happy to cop to having made them. I still may never comprehend why people refuse to admit that they make mistakes, or try to gloss over their gaffes with play on words. In fact, when I look back, I can percolate a commonality in all of my decision hiccups and they are as follows…

1. Ego – Ahhhh EGO….we have all (well those of us who are self-aware) taken a spin on the dance floor with Sir or Madam Ego! Ego is always the driving force behind ANY inability to believe that one has the capability to make a mistake. Call em what you want…‘lessons, my path, my destiny, fate’, what have you. The fact remains that you blew it, no matter how big or how small, and that is OK. When you erase the accountability from your screw ups, you also incinerate the lesson.

2. Arrogance – Lets face it, no one wants to believe that they are arrogant, yet at times we all are. Sometimes being arrogant serves a person well, thus it becomes a pattern. The caveat is that these are usually people who are used to winning (I’m having a Charlie Sheen moment here…DUH WINNING), so their arrogance plays well, so well in fact, that it doesn’t even seem to be what it is. Until they blow it, make a mistake and call it something else. Then it shines like a spotlight. It’s the ‘anything you can do I can do better syndrome’, that leads us to believe that we can’t possibly fail, screw up or foo bar….guess what? We can! What one does post F’ up, how they pick up the pieces, is the act that shows true character. Drive, inspiration and ambition are wonderful, arrogance is not…know the difference, because in my humble experience, arrogance masquerades as the positive traits listed above so well that it slips around unnoticed…until…well…it is noticed, big time.

3. Magical Thinking – I must start this by saying that I believe that we all have special talents, gifts, etc, that only we hold, that are unique to our beings. It is when we fool ourselves into the belief that everyone should think the way that we do or more simply put, peer through our personal lens and adopt our beliefs because, well, they are better anyway. Not only does this thought process reek of both Ego and arrogance, it is elitist and exclusive. The whole ‘my way or the highway’ thing does not translate well if a person wishes to form true bonds…. And frankly, I can’t take anyone seriously who will not admit that they aren’t perfect…I just can’t.

4. Storytelling – Everyone has a past (I know. I am Captain Obvious). It is when a person ALWAYS cites their past as a gloss over for their present. For example ‘I went back to college at the wrong time’, becomes ‘as the child of an alcoholic I felt the need to over achieve, and fix others, and blah…blah..blah….’ are you bored yet? I know that I am and that is MY story. I have learned that no one wants to hear a sermon because they have their own demons to dance with at midnight. So lay off and say something to the effect of ‘bad timing on my part, I will pick it up again when life settles down’, and leave it at that because that, is, all that it really is anyway. OWN IT! The cerebral all the time thing is draining, and who wants to be an energy sucker?

What have I learned from having to be humble and leave my program? I learned that when one makes excuses instead of owning their mistakes, or calling them something else, they stunt their growth faster than a steady diet of Starbucks would stunt the growth of a young child. If one doesn’t call it like it is they stay stuck, spinning their wheels, sometimes for years on end.

I am going back to college in September. I have 2 middle schoolers, who can grab their younger brother from elementary school and meet me at home, on my most hectic of days. My girls can contact me on their cell phones if they need me, and I can focus on my classes because I will have the piece of mind, and faith in their abilities that I didn’t have when they were small. My quest for an RN will be a family effort, will prove demanding at times, and will no doubt be exhausting more often than not. Now, though, it is doable, thanks to timing, commitment and learning from ones mistakes….

Christine Schaefer is a wife, a mom, loves yoga, and somebody who truly enjoys life. This post has been reposted with permission. You can find Christine here. The original post is here.

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