(This is Part 8 in the “Repeat After Me” series. Read Part 7 here.)
I was having a discussion with a friend and as she was about to describe a personal situation she started by saying, “I’m disappointed in myself”. Poof. It was quick and effortless (for her) as she went on to succinctly say what her disappointment was. I don’t remember that part, but I do remember how easily she got started. She wasn’t going to be in the image-management business.
Simple, But Not Natural
For much of my life it would have been hard to say something that simple, and it’s still not as natural as I want it to be. I notice when it’s hard for me or for others to admit being wrong or deficient in some way. So here’s a phrase that can help us on-ramp toward vulnerability: “I’m disappointed in myself.”
Here’s how I used it recently. I had a phone appointment with a friend, and I was to be the initiator. At eight minutes past the appointed time my friend texted me to see if we were still on. I texted back, “Running late. Will call in a minute.” Of course, it was technically true that I was running late, but I was obfuscating. It would have been entirely true for me to respond, “I’m running late because I forgot to call. Sorry.” But I was being self-preserving, and I knew it.
Gateway to Transparency
So I called and said, “Hey, I’m disappointed in myself. I was self-preserving, and I apologize.” I went on to tell him what I just told you. He laughed, I laughed, we patched it up quickly, and moved on. And he’ll never think of it again unless he reads this blog.
You get it. It’s an easy phrase to memorize, even if it’s not easy to say at first. Training wheels for transparency. You’ll be glad you use it. Repeat after me: “I’m disappointed in myself.”