We forget too often that we are only human, not God, and the consequences of that forgetfulness are far reaching. Remembering that what is important is to do the very best we can do should be our goal.
If we believe we ourselves are perfect, we can make one of two huge mistakes. We can berate ourselves for falling short of perfection. Equally dangerous is that we can pretend to actually be perfect or even more disastrous is to believe we really are perfect. Then we expect others to 'measure up' and no one will meet our expectations.
One of my favorite nuggets is this: We are all ignorant, just in different things. Conversely, I haven't met too many people who aren't splendid at something, whether or not they have developed that something to its full potential.
Being human means we sometimes fail, perhaps often. It also means we have potential to be wonderful, if only in recognizing the true value of others. When we fail, we need to recognize it as a learning step, one we don't have to repeat. Great success can be built on multiple missteps that eventually illuminate the wrong road. What a gift! Only then can we find the right road.
Changing directions is sometimes quite easy, sometimes difficult. As humans we have incredible ability to make different decisions, learning all along what works, what doesn't. We need to be kind to ourselves first as we recognize that we need improvement or redirection. Then we can be tolerant and encouraging to others who, like ourselves, are only human.
There is great joy in succeeding at something. It is even more thrilling when we recognize that success isn't automatic for humans and, therefore, is even more praiseworthy. We can luxuriate in our own successes, having overcome fragilities. Then we can teach our children that it is human to try, fail, get up and try again, until they find their unique talent and succeed. Criticism should be reserved for not trying.
The only way to feel more than human is to recognize what we can change and have the courage to do so, to accept what we cannot change with serenity and to find the wisdom to know one from the other. It's called the Serenity Prayer and was written by someone 'only human.'
Jean Loxley-Barnard has been a writer all her life and studied both sociology and psychology at George Washington University where she earned a B.A. Her company, The Shopper, Inc., encompasses all the Loxley-Barnard family publications - The Shopper Magazines and Doctor to Doctor Magazine. She has been in the advertising, consulting and publishing business for 39 years.
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