People

“All the people. So many people.” ~ Blur

Or, as defined by my dictionary

People (n): persons collectively or in general

 

Everyone reading this will have made a mistake. Everyone reading this will have done something wrong. Chances are, pretty much everyone reading this will have broken the law. I do not cast aspersions but, up until February 2013 it was against the law for women in Paris to wear trousers. A later applied caveat stated it was allowed “if the woman is holding a bicycle handlebar or the reins of a horse”. So, you see, it is pretty easy to break the law without even knowing about it.

My point being that we are human. And born to make mistakes, as another lyric goes. And that we all do it.

Equally, everyone reading this will have made another person smile. Everyone reading this will have achieved something. Because, again, we are human and that is what we do. Every single day.

Why then, why, oh why, are we so incredibly awful to each other? Why do we say such vile things to and about each other? Today I limit myself to talk of words not actions, for current news-related reasons, but it’s likely that most reading this will also argue against “sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me”. Because words hurt. They hurt so much it’s untrue.

We aren’t ever going to agree on everything. And the world would be worst if we did. Having different views, opinions, wants, needs, aspirations; these are all things that enrich our society. So why do so many disagreements end up coached in terms of abuse and insults? If you have an opinion but you believe others disagree, is it right to talk about them openly in insulting terms rather than engaging with?

Some people do jobs that are unpopular within society. If a traffic warden tickets your car, if a police officer clocks you speeding; these things are their job. Is it right to berate and abuse them? Their job does not define them as a person. And a person they are, under that uniform, same as you and I.

I could go on. I could cite numerous examples. It would just create a longer blog post leading to the same conclusion. We are all people. If you wouldn’t want to hear it, if you wouldn’t want it said to or about your mother, if it would make you want to rip the throat out of anyone who said it about your friend; then is it ever ok to say it?

From the Bard: “If you prick us, do we not bleed?” Yes, we do. Every single one of us.

Think about it.

 

Princess

 

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Mistakes

“I’m only human, of flesh and blood I’m made. Human; born to make mistakes” ~ Human League

Or, as defined by my dictionary

Mistake (n): an error or blunder, a misconception or misunderstanding

 

Mistakes; I’ve made a few. Well, more than a few, if I’m honest. And, sure as eggs are eggs, I will make many more right up until the day I die. I’m human. And to be human is to be fallible.

We all make mistakes, all the time. A lapse in concentration, an error of judgement, a mistimed decision, these are all parts of life. And the consequences can be as little as embarrassment to as grave as changing yours or someone else’s life forever.

The thing about making mistakes is not the mistake itself, it’s how you deal with the consequences. Jimmy Carr, of recent and legal tax avoidance fame, conducted what I consider to be a masterclass in how to deal with a perceived mistake. He was found to have invested in a legal tax avoidance scheme but, within his own comedy routines, had previously made jokes about those who are involved in tax avoidance. I’ll say it again so we’re clear, tax avoidance is legal, tax evasion is not. If you want to debate the politics of this, please do so elsewhere. The point is Jimmy Carr, on this being outed, withdrew all involvement from the scheme and has issued, through statements, tv show and live performances, several apologies.

Now I don’t know Mr Carr. I’m unlikely to ever meet him and even less likely to ever be in a position of friendship to ask him if these apologies are genuine. He may genuinely feel that tax avoidance is wrong or he may be very media and politically savvy. Saying sorry is social currency, after all. The example he has shown is do something wrong (or perceived to be wrong) then you take it on the chin, own it and apologise. More than once if necessary. It’s surprisingly simple yet amazing how few ever manage to do it.

Personally and professionally, I have to stand by my actions. That’s not that I’m 100% proud of them or that I’ve always been right. I’m not and I haven’t. I’ve made a lot of mistakes. But when I make one I know my only recourse is to hold my hand up, admit it, apologise where needed and try not to make the same mistake again. A la Jimmy Carr.

So what about you guys? Any humdingers of mistakes that you’d like share? Do you agree with the concept that apologies are a form of social currency? Interested in your thoughts as always, on a comment box-shaped postcard, please.

 

Princess