It has been said that three little words can change our lives. We have all seen those movies where time slows down, she gazes at him and he at her then, he utters those three little words. She melts in his arms and they live happily ever after. Well, I am talking about another three little words that could set you free from performance anxiety, overcompensating, ruffled feathers, hurt feelings and lost relationships. No matter how awe inspiring these lovely fairy tales are, the real life changing little words are nothing like you think but everything you need. We have to suck it up and admit, gulp....I was wrong.
Why does admitting we were wrong cause so much anxiety? We don't actually think we are perfect but we would rather reason away our short-comings that admit to them. However, the most loving thing we can do for ourselves is to get down off the "perfection pedestal" we stepped on. Admitting we were wrong lifts a weight off our shoulders that we were never meant to carry. I no longer have to scramble to cover up the my mistakes. Covering up can become a lifetime job of endlessly stacking up another excuse or reason until that house of cards comes tumbling down on whomever is closest. Being accountable makes us more attractive as a friend, spouse, coworker and employee.
Now as appealing as falling on your sword may sound, it is not to be used as tool of manipulation. Few things are less attractive then a cloud of self-pity or self-deprecating comments about your lack of follow through. Twisting a situation or playing up your weaknesses to garner pity is as unhealthy as justifying a mistake. Find out why you made the mistake and look at ways to avoid the same pitfall in the future. Allow mistakes and missteps to point you to a place where you need to become stronger. Take an honest account of the situation and an honest assessment of our role in it is essential to the learning process.
Remove your mask, stop punishing yourself and stop covering your mistakes. Instead, own then, learn from them and allow yourself the opportunity to become greater because of them. Once we learn to accept our imperfection and refuse justification we begin the maturation process. It takes a lot of courage to admit you were wrong. Strength takes building up of muscle. So go ahead, flex those muscles, be strong and courageous, and do not be discouraged because you never have to walk this road alone.
"We all make mistakes, that is why pencils have erasers."