It Takes Courage to Admit You’re Wrong


It Takes Courage to Admit You’re Wrong

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No one likes to hear that they are wrong.  It can be as simple as taking the wrong turn on a road or as big as making the wrong decision at a critical juncture of a project that may cost you thousands of dollars.  When you are wrong and someone brings it to your attention, the feelings are the same.  Embarrassment, resentment, defensiveness, doubts, and fear takes over your psyche when someone corrects you.

I’m in sales, so I deal with rejection on a continual basis.  It’s no fun to be rejected, but I have learned to accept it because it is a part of my job and when people reject me, it is the service they don’t want, not me.  However, it is different when someone approaches me and tells me directly I was wrong at something and is much harder for me to accept.

A person’s character is revealed when they are corrected.  Pete Rose lied for years about gambling in baseball before he finally admitted to doing it.  Ryan Braun lied about his use of performance enhancing drugs and even destroyed a man’s career while covering up what he did wrong.  Lance Armstrong vehemently denied any wrong doings for years and destroyed the lives of scores of good people that broached the subject of him using illegal substances to gain advantage over his competitors.  I have no respect for any of those sports heroes because they lacked character and integrity when they were exposed.

Recently my wife, Alia, had a negative experience with a young lady who works at a local organization.  I was saddened to hear how Alia felt after the experience and could only listen as Alia recalled the interaction to me.  Alia is a private person and does not like to draw attention to herself, so she did not make a big deal of it and just decided to move on and to not worry about it.  It did not change the fact that she was hurt by it and it stuck with her.

The incident came up in a discussion with one of the organization’s leaders.  The leadership approached the young lady in question.  The leader was respectful and direct with this person and basically told her that she was wrong to treat Alia the way she did and counseled her on the issue.  I can only imagine how she felt when her leadership approached her and told her she was wrong.  All the normal human emotions probably arose.  She could have handled it in many different ways, most of which would have made it worse; however, this young lady did it right.

At a local event, she approached my wife and asked to speak with her.  She proceeded to apologize to her and asked for her forgiveness.  Her and my wife had a great discussion and the situation was resolved.  I know it took courage for her to accept responsibility for the issue and admit that she was wrong.  I was impressed when I heard what she did and how she approached it with Alia.

We are all wrong, frequently.  It is not that we do stupid things and are wrong at times, that is inevitably going to be the case more often than not; however, it’s how we handle ourselves when we do something wrong that matters.  I hope we all can display the courage of this young lady and do what is right.  Own it, apologize, and learn from it.  What can you do today to fix a relationship with someone you have wronged?

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3 comments

  1. Thanks again, Erick. You are so very right. It took a lot of years for me to learn what you already seem to know. It’s never fun to be wrong, but how you handle it is so important. I try my best to to make my wrongs right by apologizing or doing whatever needs to be done to correct it. A difficult lesson to learn.

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    1. So true, Judy! The first step is to avoid getting defensive, then reflect, and adjust. Not easy, but necessary, more times then I would like to admit! Thanks for your response.

      Reply
  2. Doing the right thing is always the best! Great article, thanks!

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