Recently, I made a really big mistake. Unthinkable really. One of those moments that stops us in our tracks and makes people (especially life coaches) ask "what kind of example am I setting?" As a yoga teacher, I am constantly challenging myself to be a better person, and put aside the ego part of me which includes feelings like pride and embarrassment.
So, the mistake? You want to know what it is, don't you? I dented my back bumper. It happened in a parking lot in Blue Mountain and it was one of those situations where it is mutual responsibility. I backed up not knowing the truck behind me was going to start backing up at nearly the same time. When I went out to survey the damage, I was initially so relieved. I had not damaged his truck at all. So, I went to knock on the window of his truck, and two big burly men came out to greet me. I admit it, I was intimidated! Darnit. I shrinked at this moment where I had every right to ask for name, number and insurance. I remembered a situation in the States (where I am a citizen) and the insurance companies would not contribute anything since it happened in a parking lot.
So, I let it go and questioned myself. How did I let this happen? It was a moment of distraction on my part. But why was I beating myself up? Because I knew deep down I didn't want to drive my van anymore looking the way it did. I feared the judgment of others. But really, this attitude was shameful. I was a practical person. Right now all my money was tied up in my house and it didn't make good financial sense to repair the dent. But the thought of driving it around town was mortifying! And I had a really good van. It was a Toyota Sienna that was so dependable. I had taken very good care over the 12 years I owned it and it would continue to run well for me. It was comfortable and had lots of room for our bikes, toys and camping gear. It took us on long comfortable journeys. One day when I was playing Monopoly with my kids and the subject of bumps and bruises came up. My son suggested that we ditch the van and buy a neighbour's car, an Old Alero, of same year, but only $975 and no dents! I immediately thought, "of course not!"
And then it hit me, I was that van! I had a couple bumps and bruises myself. I had at least a couple failed relationships that were embarrassing. But deep down, if people could look beyond the mistakes they would see a heart of gold! I was responsible, I took care of myself. I did all that inner work that makes me the kind of person that is in it for the long haul and offers the kind of quality a potential partner would desire for those long journeys in life.
So this wasn't about the dent after all. This was about my pride and my ego. And as a Yogi, I could see that the Universe had presented this situation in my life to challenge me more. This was about self love. The love we have for ourselves translates to the love we can offer to others.
So here was the important question? Could I put myself out there again and know that people could see past the outer shell? And the answer to that question is very simple. As soon as I could. When I reached a point that I could say, honestly can I drive that dented hunk of metal around town and know that I might be judged, but remember the people I care about won't change their opinion of me. Then the good ones, the people that matter, would show up in my life, and the opinions of the rest would fall away.
We must embrace our bumps and bruises in life. My daughter recently got a couple bad ones falling form the monkey bars. She came down hard on her back, and it scared her. Two days later she got our there tried again at a different playground and fell again bumping her head. Returning to school the next week, she started to shy away from the monkey bars making excuses why we should return home immediately. So, I told her what I would tell myself and my clients, "you got to have courage." The best thing is to get back out there and try it again right away. And this is the perfect illustration to relationships that hurt us. Some are heart-wrenching coming out, and shake us to the core. But that's life. If we don't get back on the monkey bars of life, we don't invite the love in again and we cut off a whole chunk of life's pleasures that create balance, harmony and great satisfaction.
We must take some risks, and know that things are going to happen along the way. That might even lead to a scrape. Most heal completely with time. Occasionally, one leaves a scar. Many people will surprise us and be pretty understanding and compassionate. That vulnerability that you put into your next relationship will translate to a place of acceptance and the more we can accept the imperfections in ourselves, the more we accept the imperfections of others.
I have reached a place in my life where I am no longer searching, just waiting patiently, becoming the best self I can become, and I know that will continue to be a journey. There was a lot of healing done. I had come a long way. There would be more in the future. Those bumps and bruises were inevitable. Darnit. But, that's what makes me human, and I was looking forward to a LOT more adventures in my future.
P.S. Once I learned the lesson, I found a rear bumper on Kijiji for $99 and a generous friend who was willing to install it for free. Life is good and it keeps getting better. Just continue to have faith. Everything works out in the end.