It’s no fun to admit it when you’re wrong.
When you blow it, do you find yourself doing any of these things to ease the pain?
You move heaven and earth to cover up what you did so no one will ever know.
You frame your mistake in terms that paint it as “not so bad.”
You frantically look for something or someone to blame so the axe doesn’t fall on you.
Let’s Face It
There’s something we’re all cursed with as human beings – the tendency to make mistakes.
It’s an imperfect world. It’s filled with imperfect people. The processes we adhere to are imperfect, too.
If that weren’t bad enough, we live in a society in which people sue each other for the slightest fault. That’s why insurance companies tell us to never admit fault at the scene of an accident.
It all started in the Garden of Eden when Adam passed the buck to Eve, who passed it to the serpent.
It’s Just Human Nature
Last week we looked at what to do when you have to tell someone they’re wrong.
We saw that if you give someone an out, something or someone to blame for his problem, you’ll have his ear. That’s the way you influence someone else to change. But why doesn’t it work when it’s you?
Because people have double standards.
That’s why that verse in the Bible tells you to get rid of the log in your own eye before pointing your finger at someone else. It’s easy to accuse another of wrongdoing. But when the smoking gun points to you, you balk.
Admitting your own fault is the utmost act of courage in a selfish culture.
How to Harness the Power of Full Confession
You’ve heard that confession is good for the soul. Now let’s look at how you can get that good feeling. All you need are the following 3 keys.
1. Admit your fault honestly.
This applies whether you’re admitting fault to yourself or to others.
You can lie to other people. And for a while, you might well fool them. But you can’t really fool yourself without a lot of convincing, can you? After all, you were there when it happened.
Besides, what do you have to gain from lying? You might get off in the short term. But then your soul will never be cleansed. You might decide to cover up more stuff. You’ll have to lie more and more.
The consequences of that choice are increased stress, an overly taxed memory, and a distorted view of reality.
So go ahead. Be honest. It’s the only way to solve your problem, avoid unnecessary stress, and move forward without fear.
2. Admit it quickly.
Don’t let too much time go by when you blow it.
This is why you call 911 at the scene of an accident. If you do it right away, the evidence doesn’t get disturbed. The facts are still fresh in your mind. The witnesses are probably still around. The more time passes, the more you stand to lose.
If you wait, you’ll build up more stress.
If you wait, you’ll probably feel guiltier.
If you wait, you’ll miss the opportunity to clean the mess before it gets bigger than you realize.
Admit it sooner rather than later if at all possible.
3. Admit it emphatically.
This one takes a lot of guts.
When you make a mistake, offend someone, or fail to keep an appointment, own up to it.
If you go to great pains to take the blame, some amazing things can happen.
First, the person you offended may feel as bad as you do about what happened. If you are explicit in your confession, she may have sympathy on you for being so courageous. Who knows? She might use the dull sword to pierce you. She could let you pay in monthly installments.
Or she might decide your grief is punishment enough.
Second, you’ll feel better because you’ll have a clear conscience. There is nothing that cleanses the soul like spilling your guts. When you put it all out there for your victim to see, you won’t have anything to protect anymore.
That’ll free up a lot of energy.
Third, you’ll find it easier to be honest in the future. When you show your cards, you win. You free yourself from playing a role that isn’t authentic. Others will see you as you are. That’s the strongest foundation for trust there is.
So be honest all the time – even if means you have to admit you’re wrong.
Now Go and Be Free
Now you’ve got 3 keys to full confession.
If you’ll use them regularly, you’ll be happier. You’ll have better relationships. And you’ll get more of what you want out of life.
Now go and help others feel that they can share their faults with you, too. Wouldn’t that make a better world?
When you make a big mistake, what do you do? How has apologizing made the difference when you’ve damaged a relationship? Feel free to share your comments!