You are allowed to be wrong. I’m sure many perfectionists might disagree with that statement, but it’s true. Whether in an argument with a significant other or a disagreement with a colleague, sometimes, no matter how well-intentioned you are, wires get crossed, words or actions get misconstrued, and you wind having said or done something that warrants an apology – because you were wrong.
Right there is the hardest part, isn’t it? You. Were. Wrong.
It is hard to acknowledge the wrongness of your words or actions. As yourself, there is no one better equipped to understand and accept your point of view, your intentions, and your reasoning. If only they could see it too, right? If only you could just make them see. But, however eloquently you articulate your thoughts, no matter how long you and your “opposition” hash it out, you are never going to be able to argue against their feeling wronged because the fact of the matter is, they are coming to the table just as equipped with their own point of view, intentions, and reasoning and are just as much entitled to their feelings as you.
But what I believe most people may find surprising is that, more often than not, it is the inability to admit the wrong that is more frustrating, hurtful, or angering to the other person, not the wrong itself.
Admitting you were wrong and apologizing means you are respecting the feelings of the other person and acknowledging, whatever your intentions, that you hurt that person.
Now, this certainly doesn’t mean going around and continuously saying sorry for every single little mistake you could make (that’s basically apologizing for being human). Not only does that wear down your self-esteem, but it takes meaning away from your apology when it truly is time to be apologetic.
An important thing to remember, especially for those who may find admitting they’re wrong or apologizing difficult, is that being apologetic doesn’t put you in a “one-down” position. By this I mean, you don’t “lose” when you apologize, nor does the other person “win” – you both win. You both win because admitting you’re wrong is a great launching point for improvement of your relationship with that person, to reconnect in a way that brings you two to a more complete and holistic understanding of each other. And that is something to be celebrated.
Almost certainly, once you’ve admitted you’re wrong, the other person isn’t going to hold this fact over you; their opinion of you isn’t going to be lessened because you made a mistake. In fact, their opinion of you will probably improve. Everybody makes mistakes (again, it’s a part of being human), but handling the situation humbly and maturely is a surefire way to demonstrate to that person that you are above prideful arguing and that you are actively committed to perpetuating a feeling of tolerance and open-mindedness.http://shoutout.wix.com/lp/d882aa82-52e2-406d-a03c-6f5bff6f9228#/main Admitting you’re wrong is a chance to develop new capabilities and re-establish connections that are based on compassion and patience. Besides, it’s the same behavior you’d hope for when the day comes when that person may need to admit they are wrong in turn.
Curt Canada- Board Certified Coach advises and consult with clients at Adapting2change in Washington DC.