Airing our Errs
To Err is Human: Confession is the New Resolution
If you’re thinking “Isn't it a little late for a New Year’s Resolution post?” you’re right. In fact, so late that at this point, more than 75% of us have walked away from our promises already (according to Forbes, only 8% of us ever see them through). But don’t misunderstand, we’re not being judge-y. In fact, just the opposite. We like vices. They’re what make us human.
About those resolutions though, wouldn’t it be fascinating if we could all be more open about our faults? Imagine a world where people weren't afraid to air their flaws. Knowing that you’re not alone in your shortcomings is deeply empowering and yet, so few people share their imperfections. If more people did, maybe fewer people would feel alone in their personal struggles. So much could be de-stigmatized and so much pain avoided. It’s easy to imagine a world that is more empathetic and forgiving. Sigh.
But alas, of course, that’s pure reverie and most of us are compelled to put only our best face forward and camouflage what we don’t want people to see. Which is why early January can be such an interesting time of year for those who share our craving for honesty and acceptance. Because while not an outright admission of flaws, New Year’s Resolutions are essentially barely-veiled shortcomings and the only time when people -- en masse -- reveal to the world, a peek into their more interesting dimensions.
Fleshing out the obvious (pardon the pun) …. exercise is probably the biggest one, followed closely by its cousin, weight loss. Most of us also endeavor to “Get Organized” (Marie Kondo is a genius). Many of us aspire to expand our horizons by “trying something new” (learning a new skill or hobby or sport). We want to save more money (or spend less) and quit smoking. And the less tangible but arguably more meaningful vows are the ones where we promise to “live life to the fullest” and “spend more time with family and friends.” They’re so common they’ve become cliche. Which is why we decided to dig a little deeper this year and ask each other (each other being us here at Team CB) as well as some of our more shameless friends to fess-up with some top-of-mind confessions. The answers were sometimes boring but mostly FASCINATING.
When I polled Team Clark’s it was in the aftermath of the holidays and so my peeps were a little salty about the whole business of gift-giving, most of us wishing the holidays didn’t involve gifts at all and some planning to re-gift or return “everything.” There were a fair amount of food confessions and it seems many are at their weakest at breakfast time, when anything left in the fridge qualifies as a perfectly suitable stand-in for Cheerios. My general take-away for us here in Clark-dom is that either we eschew the materialistic nature of the holidays or we’re just impossible to buy for. Or both. I’d like to think we prefer less tangible and more meaningful gifting. 😏
Going outside the “office” bared more interesting fruit and this very flawed human was over the moon to hear so many good, honest -- and relatable -- flaws that I may run this little poll every year, if for no other reason, just to soothe my own uneasy soul.
People lie like crazy to their kids! I love this so much. Because they don’t necessarily lie only about the big things, and they’re dishonest for their own selfish reasons! Why didn’t anyone tell me this sooner? Also, one friend told me it took her a month to love each of her children (it should be noted that she’s an outstanding mom). Imagine what this information could do for a bedraggled new mother?
Omitting or avoiding the truth (not lying... exactly) with a spouse was epidemic but most fact-dodging seemed to be for a greater cause - like, for the good of the husband’s blood pressure, for example. Really, some things are better left unsaid.
One friend copped to some less-than-standard personal hygiene (her skin is probably happier than anyone’s in winter, to be fair) and another refuses to tip the mailman at Christmas. A couple of friends claim to hate dogs (is that a confession?) and one hates Beyonce (definitely a confession, why hate Queen Bey?). Another hates Starbucks (I, personally, only hate how much I love it).
A good friend once went home with a guy simply because he was holding a guitar and another went through a phase where… well, let’s just say guitars weren't a prerequisite for her affections.
A friend confessed to a deep (and closeted) love of Jalapeno Tostitos and a contrasting hatred of “farm to table anything.”
One of my smartest friends told me that she aced every standardized test she ever took except the NY Bar ethics exam. I now both like her a little more and trust her a little less. And no, she doesn’t practice law, though some would say she’s quite suited for it.
Those are the highlights. Fun, right? In my next life, I would like to be a Catholic priest, just to be on the receiving end of all those glorious human flaws because to know them is to see firsthand how perfectly imperfect we ALL are. And how human.
Let's together make a resolution to love ourselves because of (or despite) our “flaws” and to endeavor to remember every day that empathy toward our fellow earthlings is the best way to spread good in the world.