Constantly Pointing Out Other People’s Mistakes Makes it Harder to Accept Your Own

Welcome to another edition of “Jacki learns things as an adult that she should already know”. However, as usual, I’m just learning it now, as a 44-year old grown up lady. 

Shit, I’m 45 now, aren’t I? Oops. 

Whatever age I am doesn’t matter. What matters is what I titled my blog post today, so I’m gonna say it again. 

Constantly pointing out other people’s mistakes makes it harder to accept your own.

Yes, I am talking to you, the person that corrects someone’s typos on the internet in a shameful way. Or hell, even a “making fun of way”.  Did you know what the person meant? If yes, cool. Let it go. LET IT GO. 

Why do we need to “make fun of” our friends? I hate it. 

Now, if the typo is so extravagant that you are unable to comprehend what the person is trying to say, maybe ask them privately before pointing out a mistake publicly. Don’t you know they’re already gonna beat themselves up about it when they discover it anyways?

What good is you pointing it out publicly gonna do?

I’ve noticed this phenomenon in a very large, very gross-to-me way in some of the Social Media Marketing Groups I’ve joined on Facebook. 

75% of the posts are helpful and have been instrumental to me realizing my worth in the marketplace, which also feels like a very gross thing to say. However, it was important for me to learn because I had vastly undervalued myself. By like, a lot. 

To quote Principal Ava (I am currently obsessed with “Abbott Elementary”), I was “giving these [employers] a charcuterie experience on an appetizer budget.”

She worded it better, but you get the idea. 

The helpful posts are great. I’ve gotten a few clients from the groups and enjoy interacting, especially when I can contribute helpful information about working with neurodivergent brains or working in the sexual health and wellness industry. 

But the other 25% really bother me, because it’s just pointing out mistakes other social media managers made in a negative manner. 

You know, like, “OMG, can you believe they let this typo go unnoticed? How can they expect anyone to trust that company ever again?”

Those posts really bother me, because you know every single person making posts like that would be absolutely gutted to find a mistake in something they’d posted. They will already punish themselves in their brains, so why do we need to do it too?

And I say “we” because I used to be terrible about this. Like awful. I would judge other social media accounts so harshly on their typos and missteps in their posts. Even worse, I’d point them out to other people. And laugh. 

What a meanie!

What’s worse is that I did this even after I had a job where I would get absolutely eviscerated by a coworker for about 80% of the posts I made for the company. I rarely got anything right by their standards, which really fucked with my head, because I already thought my own standards were impossibly high. 

But instead of taking to heart how terrible I felt literally all of the time I let myself stay in this situation, I took the things she called out as my mistakes as even higher standards to judge others by. 

She’d been in the industry longer, so I figured she knew better. 

When I finally left that job, I found much of the same energy at my next one. By then I’d learn to check my posts and other things so many times I’d go cross-eyed, simply because I never wanted to feel that way again. And god forbid someone else made a mistake… I was on the forefront to get it corrected as soon as possible so the efficiency machine in my brain would stay happy. 

But I still made it a point to call out other people’s mistakes. 

Then I talked about this in therapy one day and it was like a piece of a puzzle had fallen into place. 

If I take it easier on other people- my brain might take it a little easier on my own damn self. And that has held true for the most part. 

I am not so hypervigilant about making mistakes that I can’t be creative and write freely. Yeah, there is still a little voice in my head that constantly edits as I write, and even creates elaborate scenarios where someone I love will get offended by something innocuous I say and never talk to me until it festers into a dead friendship I didn’t know was dying. 

But it’s not nearly as loud as it used to be. 

It used to be loud and constant, all of the time. Not only at work, but for a while a lot of the best part of my social life came from an Internet forum that made sport of pointing out people’s typos all the time. 

I did it too. I’m just as guilty, but it didn’t make me hate that slice of fire to the gut feeling I get every time someone points out I mistake I made. 

So, I dunno, next time you see a mistake someone made, take a beat before saying anything. What are you trying to accomplish by pointing it out to them? And if your answer is to tell them that they made a mistake, take another beat and remember that they are human and it’s okay for them to make mistakes. 

More importantly, it’s important for other people to see that making mistakes is okay. And I don’t think pointing them out in public on the Internet does it. Or hell, pointing them out in public period. 

And now that I’ve shifted my brain this way, when I do make a mistake it’s much easier to say, “Hey, oops, I fucked up. I know what I did and how to prevent it happening again. Thank you for understanding.” 

One more thing before I stop babbling:

In a way, ‘s even worse when you point out your own mistakes in a demeaning manner. What’s that saying to other people, especially people that might look up to you, is that what you just did is a BAD THING and if they ever make the same mistake it should also be treated as a BAD THING and therefore they must be BAD PEOPLE. 

But if you just treat it as what it is, a mistake, then hopefully they can just learn from it and avoid it on their own. 

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