Once we realize that imperfect understanding is the human condition there is no shame in being wrong, only in failing to correct our mistakes.
George Soros

The Miss Universe pageant almost took place without many people caring about the outcome. If not for the mistake made by Steve Harvey, the event would not have caused a ripple in social media. Yet, so many people who didn’t even watch the event for years became emotionally attached to the results. We don’t remember who the last few winners are, nor will we remember the names of who were involved. But we will remember Steve Harvey made a huge mistake. Across mainstream and social media, expressions such as it was horrible what Steve Harvey did. It was an outrage! Does this mean his career is over as we know it? Steve Harvey must be so embarrassed!

Why should Steve Harvey be embarrassed? I heard from people who watched the show, that Steve Harvey was funny, entertaining and he helped the show progress effortlessly. Of course, Harvey made the mistake of calling out the wrong winner on TV. Upon realizing his error, Harvey corrected himself moments later, named the true winner and apologized for the mistake he made. This happened within the same night. The right person was crowned and everything should have been over. So why the big deal? it wasn’t Steve Harvey nor Miss Colombia that felt the sense of shame or embarrassment, it was us as a collective audience. We put ourselves in the shoes of Miss Colombia and Steve Harvey and projected what we would have felt in that situation. It was us who felt the sense of shame and embarrassment.

What is shame? Shame means that you are fundamentally devalued. Shame makes us feel as we are not worthy of being loved and belonging. Those of us that feel shame feel entirely responsible for our mistake. Not only do we question what we did wrong, but we allow mistakes to become a defining part of who we are, as in, why am I always wrong? I keep on making mistakes! We feel feelings of failure and incompetence. Mistakes are not what we do, making mistakes become who we are. I am Lennox and I am a mistake!

Will we as an audience recover from that night? Many of us were projecting our own personal sense of shame into the Miss Universe controversy. We, the audience, the media consumers, were imagining what we would have felt if we were Miss Colombia or Steve Harvey. When you are wounded, mistakes are not minor. Mistakes make us feel less than adequate. When we feel shamed, we believe that we have made a fool out of ourselves. Our feeling of shame was expressed through our reaction to a rather innocuous event. The audience reacted as if there are no such things as minor mistakes. Harvey’s error in our eyes was something more debilitating - an all or nothing situation. Steve Harvey’s public shame was something similar to what I experienced in my past.

Approximately 10 years ago, I used to run a small film festival. Despite having a small, yet stable funding, the quality of films I had to select from and the dwindling audience, made me realize the initiative was not sustainable. The festival was something I created out of passion and I thought I would run it for many years to come. When I shut it down, it felt like a piece of me was shut down as well. Sure there were things I could have done differently, but at that time I took a criticism of my passion as a criticism of myself. I was left to think if I made a mistake by shutting things down or was the entire idea a mistake. My personal experience of shame was being projected and exposed.

To me, the Miss Universe outcry was not about the parties involved, it was our only personal sense of shame that was exposed that night. It has taken me approximately 10 years to recover from feeling shame. During my recovery period, I isolated myself from close friends, did not pursue great opportunities and continued to second guess myself due to what I thought was a public shaming. It has taken me many years to rebuild my confidence, strengthen my inner child and to regain my voice. I still have some doubts. I often feel the shame felt by others as if it were my own. Through meditation and positive affirmations I have become stronger, ready to fight my inner demons. I no longer get embarrassed after making a mistake, nor do I hide after being shamed. Mistakes are not bigger than they really are. Mistakes are only mistakes.

As I did, Steve Harvey and Miss Colombia will recover from that night, for we humans are not perfect. We should not expect it from celebrities. There is no need to get embarrassed whether a mistake is made when no one is watching or when there is an audience of one billion. By accepting our humanity and recognizing that mistakes are lessons to learn from, that is when true healing can begin. When we are able to accept the fallibility in others as well as ourselves, shame begins to heal. Slowly. Let us revel in others’ successes and failures, while not allowing either event to be one’s sole definition. Let’s take pleasure in taking risks in life and enjoy whatever outcome comes our way. The beauty of life comes from the cornucopia of our experiences.

Author's Bio: 

Lennox Cadore
Everyone was born to be successful. Even though some will reach greater heights than others, we were all born to realize our potential all accordance our personal drive and definition of success. I, Lennox Cadore, aim to provide the necessary tools and coaching in order for people to reach self-actualization and potential fulfillment.

Through working with marginalized people coupled with my personal journey of losing 50 lbs in 9 months allowed me to learn some basic success principles. Whether your goal is losing weight, getting a new job or becoming successful in life, the lessons are the same. These lessons lead me to become a coach, personal trainer and fitness instructor. I use these skills a vehicle to help people around the world to visualize and achieve their dreams.