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Is There an Eraser for That?


Life’s embarrassing moments. They happen. Hollywood has capitalized on our delight in seeing others making fools of themselves. Candid Camera. America’s Funniest Home Videos. And what is social media filled with? Similar snapshots and short video clips of the whacky, silly, awkward stuff that people and pets alike do. Of course, pictures and videos can be erased. But when we get caught in some uncomfortable experience, it can be forever imprinted in our memory… and sometimes the memories of others.

Often when families gather, the stories surface. “Do you remember the time…” someone will begin as the victim in the amusing tale cringes and groans. “Do we have to hear that again?” Even with the passing of time and sometimes the work of therapy, the pain remains, the wound opens as if new. A reasonable request might be made for some respect and a whole lot of restraint. This might only add fuel to the fire. Oh, how we humans treat one another! We may long for a helpful eraser to eliminate the memory of – or better yet, the occasion itself – such embarrassing episodes.

Of course, humanity is something we all share. Making mistakes, slipping up, blundering, being blindsided, coming up short… it’s all in the mix of being mortal. But when we regularly receive ridicule for our personal version of it, our confidence and self-worth suffer. Ever been in a gathering of people and felt invisible? Ever been in a room and felt insignificant? Ever been the brunt of someone’s “affectionate” teasing and wonder how others can be so insensitive? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if developing a thick skin and sturdy spine were not needed as essential life skills? Wouldn’t it be marvelous if the tarnish was removed and fresh polish applied to the Golden Rule of treating others as if we were all in the same boat? Because we are.

It's a new year. We sometimes consider it a fresh beginning even though we’re prone to lug all the old emotional baggage from the previous year into it. We have good intentions. We say that we want to be a better person. We hope to feel more positively about ourselves. We long to stand up for ourselves and be seen and heard and respected and valued. We try new tricks and improved self-talk. But there’s just not an eraser for the moments and memories of our mortality that trip us up, hold us back, and nearly bring us to our knees. Then again, perhaps that’s a good place to be…

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