It was a Tuesday evening; a particularly dreary one in the city of Philadelphia. Dark clouds, high winds and heavy rain pummeled the area all day. Daryl and his brother Michael wouldn’t let bad weather stop them from getting together. Meeting at least once a week to catch up, became a tradition over the past few years as both men grew increasingly busy within their personal lives. The two brothers settled into their usual spot in the corner of the Field House sports bar. The corner spot allowed then to have the perfect view of the large TV, which that night featured the Warriors playoff game.
Daryl tossed his keys down on the table and took his seat. Michael noticed his brother’s sour mood, but decided against saying anything. He assumed he probably just had a rough day.
“You boys having the usual,” Amy, the bartender, said with a smile.
“You know it,” Michael replied making himself comfortable. “Do you mind getting us two buds? My brother here, needs a pick me up.”
As the night progressed, the bar rocked with cheers from fans who enjoyed the competitive game. The staff knew both men fairly well and often made sure their food came out first. Amy brought out pipping hot baskets filled with buffalo wings and truffle fries, followed by two foamy beers.
“You alright man? You’ve hardly touched your food,” Michael said with a grin as he gauged his brother’s sullen mood.
“Oh yea, I’m good. You see that last shot? Steph Curry’s raining down those threes, isn’t he? This is a hell of a ball game,” Daryl replied, changing the subject. “Really bro, I’m fine.”
Michael could see through Daryl’s clever attempts to dodge his question. After all they were brothers and he could tell when things bothered him. The eyes, are the windows to the soul and he saw a man who wasn’t being honest about his feelings. The rest of the evening continued in similar fashion. Michael, thankfully bonded with the other men at the bar, so his evening didn’t get ruined by his brother’s indifference.
”Thanks for dinner bro. I got us next week.” Michael then placed his arms around his brother, playfully pushing on him to get him to liven up. “You sure you good?”
”Mike I’m always good, you know that. You better get me next week. This was my second week in a row paying for your broke ass. You’re lucky I love you man,” Daryl laughed, finally revealing his pearly whites for the first time.
Once the game ended, the two got up to leave. Daryl rummaged through his sport coat pocket and pulled out the smart key to his late model, midnight blue Mercedes Benz S class. Beep, Beep. The doors unlock and the brothers got in. Here’s the deal, Daryl’s become an extremely successful entrepreneur and is a staple in the community. Michael had always looked up to his brother, and hoped that he could one day mirror some of his success. Daryl knew this and worked very hard to be an example. He was the poster child of achievement. He had a beautiful family, stunning home and more money than some would ever obtain in an entire lifetime, but even with all of these things, Daryl judged himself harshly.
The car quietly started, bringing all of the immersive screens and gauges to life. The blue mood lights, that strung along the bottom of door seals created the perfect ambiance for high class ride. The sound of falling rain penetrated the cabin while the jazz record picked up where they’d left off through the Burmester sound system.
“You know you can talk to me about anything? You know that right?”
“Fine, I’ve been stressed”
“Stressed about what Daryl?”
“It’s nothing major. I’m straight,” Daryl replied staring out of the front windshield, navigating through a busy Filbert St.
The two continued their drive void of conversation with only the melodic notes of the saxophone that breached the awkward silence. Here’s the thing, if we were a fly on the wall in Daryl’s life, we’d see over the past week or so, Daryl took a major hit in his business- a bad deal, made in haste gone wrong. While the bad deal won’t put him out of business, but he thinks the bad deal will make him look like a fool in the eyes of those he respects.
He’d rather face death itself, than to admit he’s failed or made a costly mistake. The shame ate at him, robbing him of his peace of mind. His poor mood was deeply tied to his unwillingness to let go and his rigid judgement of himself. Shame, Where do I begin? The word itself seems to invoke a series of complicated negative feelings within us. It’s an emotion that lies dormant within the shadows of our thoughts, waiting to reveal itself when we find ourselves at the other end of a painful mistake or a personal violation. It can be debilitating, causing us to feel like we’re unable to move.
Our mistakes in life, don’t us a failure. They’re just lessons, albeit painful ones, but lessons all the same. Nobody passes through the earthly plane unscathed. We may not all be Daryl, an entrepreneur having difficult time within a businesses, but may be able to relate to making a costly gaff or hurting someone we love. Perhaps we can relate to saying the wrong thing in the heat of the moment or forgetting who we are and acting out of turn. What makes shame such a daunting emotion to traverse, is that it doesn’t always come from our own mistakes and interpretation of failure. Violations and pain at the hand of others can also evoke the strong emotion. Seeking loving support and guidance is paramount for recovery. There’s hope.
Today, I ask you to give yourself a break. Making mistakes it is apart of being human. Owning up to our mistakes and vowing to learn from them allows us to tread confidently toward our destiny. While the temptation to judge yourself harshly may arise, I encourage you to keep the right perspective. A mistake does’t define you or rule you out of becoming the incredible person you’re destined to become.