I’m the type of person who thinks about the times I’ve said the wrong thing over and over again. These comments will pop into my head sometimes at completely random times. Or sometimes a new conversation will trigger a memory of a time I said something I wish I hadn’t. I beat myself up over it. But I recently came to the conclusion that everyone needs a little grace in these situations. Here’s why…
Give Yourself a Little Grace: No One Else is Thinking About The Time Your Said the Wrong Thing Anymore
About 10 years ago, a friend of mine who’d been struggling with infertility (and then got pregnant) told me that she had suffered a miscarriage. I told her I was sorry. But I also said, “Well, at least you know you can get pregnant.” I was trying to look on the positive side of things. But looking back, I know that comment wasn’t helpful and it certainly wasn’t what she needed to hear in that moment. Even though that conversation was a decade ago, I still think about how I said the wrong thing.
But here’s the thing…
You know how you go out to lunch with a friend and have a great time chatting. But when you get home you notice your mascara is smudged? Your first thought is, why didn’t my friend tell me? Truth is, your friend probably didn’t even notice because they were preoccupied with the thoughts in their own head. Other people aren’t paying nearly as much attention to the details about you as you are.
So, if you made a comment at some point that you’re beating yourself up over, give yourself a little grace. The person you said the wrong thing to is probably not dwelling on it like you are. It’s long been forgotten and they’ve moved on, so you should too. (Of course, if you said something truly hurtful, you should probably address it with your friend.)
Give Grace to Others: It’s Hard to Know the Right Thing to Say Unless You’ve Been There Yourself
When you haven’t experienced something yourself or can’t relate to a situation, it’s really easy to say the wrong thing. When I made that comment to my friend who’d recently suffered a miscarriage, I had not been in that situation. My intentions were good and I believe my friend knew I wasn’t trying to be insensitive or hurtful. She gave me grace.
As the mom of a special needs kiddo, I’ve heard all the classic comments that all special needs parents hate to hear. “God only gives special kids to special parents.” “I don’t know how you do it,” etc. And I’ve read numerous articles and blogs about how people have said the wrong thing to special needs parents and what people should stay instead.
When people comment on how I handle being a special needs parent, their intentions are good and I know that. Just because they don’t say the perfect thing, doesn’t mean they are trying to hurt me. It means they don’t know the right thing to say because they’ve never been there. So, I give them some grace.
It seems we’re all a little too quick to judge and it’s important to remember to give each other a little grace. We can’t always say the perfect thing. So, when someone says the wrong thing or you regret the way you worded something, give grace, move on and don’t dwell on it.