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How far can the saying “I’m only human” get you?

When my ten-year-old nephew leaned over me while I was writing this, he read the caption out loud and replied: “not far, because you have to learn out of your mistakes and correct your behavior.” This is one wise ten-year-old, I thought. Sometimes I wonder why others don’t get it?

There is a meme that reads: “I don’t have ducks. I don’t have a row. I have squirrels and they are drunk.” We do make fun of our mistakes and our minds being all over the place. Our quickest excuse for anything that goes wrong is “but I’m only human.”

Whether you are ground level staff or a high ranking politician, people lose their cool and make mistakes. Why? Some people or situations just push the wrong buttons and then you just go off your rocker. Some people have a short temper or aggression issues, are stressed out or had a bad day. There are numerous reasons for being upset. But is how you fix the problem by apologizing with the extension “I’m only human” going to help you out of your messes the entire time?

What happens if you blame everything that you do wrong, on being human? Usually when someone says “I’m only human”, it means that they actually did do something wrong, but it’s not their fault, but the fault of being human. That excuse can only be used for a set number of times before someone will think you are weak and you don’t take the responsibility for your actions.

For people who are in business and who strive for success and achievement, this phrase is not something they say often or even want to think because they want to be in control the whole time. They don’t want to make the mistakes. These people are hard on themselves which is again the other side of this coin. But in this article, we are referring to the people who use their humanity as a scape-goat.

A mistake is when you do something accidently or absentmindedly. Taking bad decisions are due to lack of character, moral failings, poor judgment, and/or an inability to accept responsibility and are therefore not deemed as mistakes. So say you accidently parked in the wrong parking space, because it was always allocated to you and this year you have an alternative one – that is a mistake. But spreading gossip about an employee member because you are aiming for that position or a promotion is not a mistake. It is deliberate and destructive and “I am only human”, will not get you excused.

We all have bad days and that’s called being human. But hitting a child or a woman or committing some sort of abuse is not being human. It is called having some self-control. Willingness to take ownership of those mistakes and to correct your behavior while balancing that fine line of not being too hard on yourself shows true character. You will automatically get people to respect you. Respect goes a long way. People will admire your courage and strength and even later see you as someone who fought a fight, maybe lost in the process, but got back up again.