In our culture, we have this weird way of reminding ourselves that we are only human, after all. We will often say this when we make a mistake or when we find that we don’t have enough time to do something. This word couplet has really gotten me thinking this year.
Many times, I have thought to write about forgiving ourselves for our perceived shortcomings because it is the nature of being human to be imperfect. If everything that we said or did were perfect, where would the lessons be? Where would we find the contrast? However, I just haven’t been able to write, “It’s ok to be flawed, after all we are only human.” Again and again, it just seems wrong. Yes, we are human, but “only” seems to make us seem less than what we are. We are so lucky to be here in this time and this space and in our human bodies! Look at what we can do! A fully functioning human can see, hear, taste, smell and feel. What else? We have these amazing emotions which bring such a richness to life. Experiencing anger, joy, fear, love, boredom, all such a gift. Our bodies do amazing things - carrying us around in our day, doing what we do, usually without thinking about it! And the mind - our ability to reason, be funny, be thoughtful - it is boggling!
And then, we have a little blip. A mistake here, an injury here, a hurt feeling there, and we jump in and say, “Oh well, I’m only human!” While I love the forgiving feeling behind the phrase, I just wonder if we could say something else! How about, “Wow, that was an interesting element of humanity coming through. “ Or, “I apologize for that blip, but let’s notice everything that went right!” Frankly, I haven’t written this previously because I haven’t quite come up with the right phrase.
We were not designed to be perfect, and the imperfection is what makes us interesting. So, just notice this week when you say “only human” and see what you might replace it with. I’d love to hear from you if you come up with a great replacement!
Copyright 2019 Nancy C Murray
I will be leading one more pilgrimage. If you feel called to join us on the Camino de Santiago in September, click here for more information.