Ever told — or laughed at — a bigoted joke? I have, and I cringe today at what I once found funny. Ever used one of the more common ethnic or sexist slurs — “gypped,” for instance, or “bitch” — or dropped the f-word as it commonly refers to gay people? I’ve been guilty of this too, to my shame. Have ugly generalizations or snap judgments based on ethnic stereotypes perambulated through your mind, even if they didn’t fall out of your mouth? Guilty again.

I admit to all of this not as a form of moral — or immoral — exhibitionism, but because I think it’s true of the overwhelming majority of people irrespective of their race or gender. (If you don’t agree, audit yourself twice.) Few of us are proud of these lapses. Many of us are trying to be considerably more mindful about them. But most of us don’t rip ourselves to pieces over them, either.

That’s because we believe that our worst moments and dumbest utterances shouldn’t define us.