by Paula Faris
I threw my phone down on the ground and nearly ran away from it, wanting nothing more than to scream. WHAT was I thinking?!?
There was NO WAY I could right this wrong.
I’d just mistakenly sent a highly embarrassing text to the wrong text chain.
You see, my reply was intended to go to my college girlfriends, with whom I share EVERYTHING. Instead, the reply went to my son’s basketball coach and a group of basketball parents. Gulp.
Without incriminating myself further, you can only imagine how colorful this message was. I’ve known my college besties for almost 30 years. We overshare on a regular basis, as if it’s our jobs.
Now, I’ve done a lot of foolish things in my life. But this gaffe just about topped the list.
I couldn’t take it back. Nor, could I make it right.
There was literally no way out of this.
Thank God for GRACE.
As women, we place so many expectations on ourselves. Many of those are unrealistic or highly unattainable. Like trying to emulate grandma’s Christmas sugar cookie recipes, or thinking we should “bounce back” after baby, or even expecting to not do something as dumb as send the absolute wrong text message to the absolute wrong people when we’ve got 1,987 balls in the air at all times?
After the embarrassment of the texting incident waned, I explained to one of my kids what had happened. And, in doing so, said “I don’t want to be judged by my worst moment, so let’s not judge others by theirs.”
It was a moment where I realized once again how unforgiving we can be of others. But, even more so, of ourselves. Especially when it comes to our own expectations. Sometimes forgiving the person staring back at you in the mirror can often be the most difficult.
So, how did I proceed to right this wrong? I decided my first step was to forgive myself…asking myself, “if it’s not going to matter in 5 years, should it really matter in 5 minutes?” This is a question I ask myself often when I’m stuck, can’t see the forest from the trees, or am making a mountain out of a molehill.
The second thing I did was fast forward about 25 years. It’s something I call my front porch mentality. I imagine the 70-year-old version of myself, sitting on my front porch (choice beverage in hand, ladies), looking back on this particular moment. How would she respond? How should she decide on that big decision you’re currently contemplating?
I often apply the front porch mentality to major decisions in my life—like, when I decided to pump the brakes at the height of my career, anchoring Good Morning America and co-hosting The View, and step back into a new season of calling, which I documented in my book, Called Out: Why I Traded Two Dream Jobs For a Life of True Calling.
Applying a front porch mentality can be a game changer when it comes to finding clarity and perspective.
So, my sisters, as you sit around your family tables this holiday season, as you attempt grandma’s sugar cookie recipe, as you contemplate big decisions, as you do this thing we call life, remember to give yourself grace. To be as ready to forgive yourself as you do others. And, to live your best life on that front porch.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a text to send. Xo
Paula Faris is an Emmy-Award winning journalist, podcaster and best-selling author of Called Out: Why I Traded Two Dream Jobs For A Life Of True Calling.
Most recently, she spent 9 years at ABC News during which she was a co-anchor of “Good Morning America’s” weekend edition, co-host of “The View,” and host of the “Journeys Of Faith” podcast. Launching January 2021, Faris will host “The Paula Faris Podcast”.
Paula graduated from Cedarville University (‘97). She and her husband John reside in South Carolina with their three children.