I recently put a video up on my Facebook page about what to do when you let someone down.
Specifically, I had been discussing my own commitment to recording daily videos and then FORGOT a day, after over two months of successfully recording a daily video.
The world came to a complete halt the day I forgot to record a video.
Kidding, obviously, and I clearly let myself down more than anyone by breaking my commitment. Further, this is a trivial example of letting one’s self or others down, but it made for good food for thought…and I got some positive responses to it.
What do you do when you let someone important down?
This has been coming up a lot in my practice too – something I struggle with as well. I don’t want to let anyone down.
I do, though.
It’s part of being human.
Sometimes, it’s something we can consciously avoid by keeping our commitments and doing what we say we will. BUT – there are times when we genuinely screw this up.
In those cases, here’s what to do:
This part comes hard for a lot of people, but own the fact that you screwed up, let someone down, and say that you’re sorry! That’s simple.
I’ve worked with countless couples where a heartfelt apology was ALL that was needed to smooth over BIG wounds.
2. Learn the Lesson
Why did you screw up? What can you learn from the experience? Everything that happens to us usually comes with a lesson, note what yours is in this situation.
3. Forgive Yourself
Remember that you are human. Hopefully the person who you let down will forgive you, and it does take a sincere heartfelt apology to usually get that forgiveness.
If not, however, that doesn’t mean you have to obliterate yourself with endless guilt. It doesn’t do you any good. If you learned the lesson and apologized from a genuine place, let yourself off the hook too.
More often than not, you might continue to beat yourself up for something that you did that someone forgave you for long before. Get over yourself so that you can get on with your life and just forgive yourself already.
4. Move on
Get on with the story, move on in your life, and give yourself space to be human and screw up again.
When you knowingly let someone down
There’s another way to let someone down that is NOT accidental that I wanted to share about as well. This is when something you need to do for yourself might disappoint someone else.
You might know how I feel about “co-dependency” being a bit of a dirty word, but we are talking about a sort of “ineffective” dependency (or call it the C-word if you want) if you are holding back on something for you because you simply do not want to let someone else down.
Just know this: You are not doing anyone any favors by holding yourself back in the world because of what you imagine someone else might need from you. (In the case of romantic relationships, especially, it is crucial that you are clear with each other about what you do need.)
Whether this is in a romantic partnership or on a much broader scale, to live fully at your best you must be honest with yourself and act from a place of integrity.
Sometimes, sadly, that might mean letting someone down.
To do so, my main piece of advice is to act from a place of love. Not defensiveness, not overprotectiveness and not from a place of self-sacrifice.
Love you and love them.
Be honest with yourself.
Let the person know your WHY.
Understand the impact on them, and be sensitive about it, but don’t let it hold you back from doing what you know you need to do.
If they are hurt or disappointed by your actions, let them have that experience. It’s not your job to take that away from them, after all, you are likely unable to.
I realize that can be hard to sit with.
It IS your job to show up fully 100% honest to yourself and to others.
Maybe there is a lesson here for the other person.
That’s okay too, and it doesn’t have to be yours to teach. You’re learning as well.
Let me know your thoughts, about either the accidental let down or the purposeful one when you had to do something in your best interest that might not have felt good to someone else.
How have you handled these situations?
Post in the comments below.
Cheers to thriving in business & love,