On… being wrong

When do you admit you are wrong and attempt to make amends?

  • As soon as you have done the wrong thing?
  • As soon as you are told you have done the wrong thing?
  • After you’ve had time to reflect and think about what you have done?
  • Never?

I was never born ready, but I often suspect I was born wrong.

Making mistakes  and getting things wrong comes so easily, fluidly almost. It’s a constant within me, as much as walking or breathing.

Over the course of the last few days, I’ve been thinking about the way that getting things wrong hurts, and yet is so easily repeatable. The hurt stems from not only failing myself, that I haven’t learnt from my previous mistakes, but also the sense of failing others – that I have let down those who I respect and am close to.

Why do I continue to do the things that make myself and others unhappy?

Being wrong is painful, it means acknowledging that I have failed. It all too often means acknowledging that my mistake has hurt someone I care about, that I have let them down too.

Being wrong means that in the moment I lack the knowledge, the insight to make the right choice with the situation presented to me. It means I’m faced with a situation that while it may not be new, may be different enough that applying the right knowledge eludes me.

It means that I am still learning. The mistakes I make as I learn are almost inescapable. Does it make it easier to live with?

No. It really doesn’t.

I can however, admit when I am wrong. I admit being wrong all the time. I apologise for my mistakes all the time (some might say I apologise too much).

I’ve always believed that letting others know when I am wrong is a good thing. I’ve always believed that admitting and being open about my mistakes and flaws allows me to be myself, and begin to like myself.

I’m not sure I’m doing it right though…

“When we admit we’re wrong, we create opportunities for people to accept and love us as we really are, and that’s when we can finally have loving relationships.”

I do wonder why then, even though I can be open about my flaws, I still find it so hard to believe that I am loved?

Liked even?

I’d like to throw this question out to you, if I may:

  • How do you deal with making mistakes and letting people down, and still believe that you have likeable qualities?

4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by thetrickykid on November 30th 2010 at 2:05 pm

    This is a big question, I note no one else has attempted a reply.

    I think its important to remember that what you do, and who you are, are not one and the same thing. You can be liked and be an evil person, you can be loathed and yet be a good person. You can’t please them all anyways.

    We have to recognise that we make mistakes. We all make ’em, everybody. You have to just accept that you did the best you could at the time with what you had. And if that wasn’t good enough, or you got your priorities amiss and focussed on something else, or you just didn’t have it in you to care at that moment, well, that’s just the way it is. You couldn’t look into the future for that vital tip off.

    I’m just getting to my point! You set the standard of who you are against your own values. You do the best that you can, or as much as you want to. You ‘succeed’ or ‘fail’ hopefully picking up some learnin’ on the way.

    None of this has any bearing on your likeable qualities. I like the people who try stuff, its less important to be if they hit or miss. The act is what appeals, not the outcome.

    I suggest that you look too see what your own response to someone else, if that person were to ‘let you down’. I think the answers to how to cope with this question are hidden here. If a good friend lets you down, does that change how you feel? Are there different grades of letting down? Is a repeated failure worth more ‘let down’ points? How does an apology fit into this?

    Does being more accepting of others make you more accepting of yourself? Maybe just the act of accepting others is the key to feeling that others accept you.

    Now I’m rambling, these are genuine questions, not some implication of a specific answer……


    • That is a lot of food for thought.

      I think, if I’m honest, I hold my own behaviour and actions to an impossible standard. That would explain how I continually feel I’ve let-down/disappointed/angered those I care about. That would explain how I continually feel my own efforts are worthless.

      I also worry greatly that I may hold others to an impossible standard too. Which would perhaps explain why I often take the world so very personally rather than for what it is – a bunch of people all doing their own stuff.

      Ah well, I got a lot of things wrong yesterday too, so if nothing else, I will always be learning.

      Learning and apologising!


  2. thetrickykid has pretty much nailed it on the head there chief.

    What do YOU do? As you say, you admit you’re wrong, you apologise and you make amends. That’s what it reads like to me. That’s my personal experience of it.

    That’s it!

    How did I deal with making mistakes, letting people down and still believe I have likeable qualities? That I am a fine upstanding citizen?

    Eh… by doing exactly the same actions as you. What I do is no different, I just understand that the fact that I do it, that I acknowledge, apologise and try to make amends with sincerity is what makes me a half decent human being.

    Your actions are admirable, aren’t they the way you would expect somebody to treat you if the tables were turned? If somebody keep you down? Say for example, by jokingly accusing you of having an affair?

    You’re dealing with things the right way. There is no secret special thing you have to do next to make it right, no other gesture to make. Your actions are what means people still like you.


  3. Posted by Captain caveman on December 1st 2010 at 8:09 pm

    Not sure I have ever been “wrong” but will let you know if it ever happens. :o)


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