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PUT THE BAG DOWN, KRAMER

by Adam Zack — March 28, 2018

He’s been carrying the weight.

We’ve all done some incredibly stupid things. We say things we regret. We do things we wish we could take back. We even think things and catch ourselves trying to wipe that thought from our memory.

Golf lets you take a mulligan. Kids games get do-overs. In tennis you get a second serve. Even track and field gives a re-start for jumping the gun. But real life makes you live with your mistakes and if you’re halfway smart you learn from them and not be like hair conditioner – rinse and repeat. But sometimes the gravity of your mistakes weighs very heavily. Guilt, remorse and even grudges seem to become heavier by the day, which turns into weeks and years. You can’t let go. You can’t put it down. You can’t forgive yourself. I was watching the sometimes funny “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” with Jerry Seinfeld yesterday on the train ride home and Jerry’s guest was Michael Richards, the actor who played the iconic Cosmo Kramer on Seinfeld. If you don’t know Kramer, Google him now. About 7 years ago Michael was performing stand up comedy in L.A. and was heckled about not being funny. Instead of ignoring it or going with it like good comedians do, he got pissed and called the heckler probably the most politically, socially and universally despised word imaginable – the N word. And it was captured on video and posted to the internet. Poof, career over. Now lots of people have made seemingly career ending moves and come back (Pee Wee Herman, anyone?) and at the time I was with the majority of people thinking “Dumb rich guy shows his true colors (no pun intended) and gets what he deserves.” Watching him talk with Jerry and the evident tone of just how much he regretted what he said and that the comment just did not reflect his true self. Every single day for 7 years he has been carrying the weight. He has not forgiven himself. What Jerry said next really moved me. He told him that it was up to Michael to forgive himself. He’s been carrying that bag long enough and it’s time to put it down. Seek forgiveness and forgive yourself. It’s not easy. Regret has a very sticky handle, but unless you make the decision and effort to assuage (I love that word. Abraham Lincoln used it.) those you’ve affected and forgive yourself, you will not be able to truly share your gifts and do the positive things that truly make the lives of the people you interact with daily better.

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