Becoming Better at Admitting Mistakes

4 steps to apologize and move forward

Everyone has messed up at some point in their lives: missed a deadline, forgotten an important event or broken something they borrowed. When you mess up, it can be overwhelming to know that someone is or will be disappointed in you. The natural reaction is to want to make everything right and to place the blame anywhere other than squarely on your own shoulders. Whether you've made a relational mistake, financial mistake or some other blunder, it’s time to fess up and take the blame. No one likes to confess they aren’t perfect, so here are some steps to take to become better at admitting you have made a mistake.

Step 1: Admit the mistake to yourself

If you can’t even admit to yourself that you have made a mistake, there is no way you will be able to tell someone else. People err. It happens. But, that doesn’t mean that you can shirk the responsibility you had in causing the problem. Try to come to terms with your fault as soon as you can. The longer you wait to acknowledge it, the more likely you are to think that no one else noticed either.

Step 2: Admit your fault to the person or people it affected

This is probably the hardest step because it requires you to be humble and vulnerable. Try not to play the blame game. Passing blame on to circumstances or other people will just frustrate the person affected by your error. Promptly confessing a mistake to the person you have wronged communicates respect to that person, even when the mistake wasn’t 100 percent your fault.

Step 3: Say you are sorry and ask for forgiveness

Apologizing is only half of the equation. It is the part you control. By asking for forgiveness, you are inviting the person who was wronged to be an active part of the relational restoration process. This also gives him a chance to voice any not previously communicated feelings he has while bringing both of you some emotional closure.

Step 4: Do your best to make up for the mistake

Whether it be by completing the task you messed up or financially reimbursing them for a broken object, your action in this regard can go a long way toward healing the relationship. Also, learn from the mistake and change whatever behavior initially caused the problem. This will help ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

Once again, everyone makes mistakes. Beating yourself up too much or living with guilt can be stressful and harmful to you. There is no reason to try to hide a problem that can be fixed. By properly admitting to mistakes, you can help yourself remain a respectable and trustworthy person.

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