Flat Tire

“When a person is down in the world, an ounce of help is better than a pound of preaching.” – Edward Bulwer-Lytton

When I was a young adult, I had my first flat tire. As it happened, there was a steak knife in the middle of the freeway for some reason. My father belittled me for quite a while for not watching where I was going. Not in a joking, teasing manner. In an aggressive, I want you to feel like crap manner. I wanted to scream at him, “Look, I think I learned my lesson very well at this point, can you just help me change my dang tire?” But I didn’t yell at him. I was too afraid of the man.

I think about this a lot with my kids, my patients, and myself. Instead of yelling at my kids for spilling something, we try to practice how to do it right the next time. Instead of saying “I told you so!” to my noncompliant diabetics when they have their first amputation, we talk about how to prevent the ones in the future.

But when I am lying awake at night thinking about how I should have approached something differently in any realm of my life, I never really stop beating myself up.

That hardly seems fair.

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2 thoughts on “Flat Tire

  1. But then, the other extreme is a new generation of animal that has grown up never having to take responsibility for most their actions. A person feeling good about themselves is always the priority. Flaws, character defects, or even mistakes, are pathologized, or it is someone elses fault. I think shame and guilt are fantastic tools for self improvement. As long as they don’t paralyze.

    Liked by 1 person

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