Apologize for Your Mistakes
The words “I’m sorry” may be simple to type, but can be some of the hardest to say out loud. When we are in the wrong, some of us may find it difficult to apologize. It may be because we don’t think we’re at fault despite what others say. If not, we may think apologizing makes room for further accusations and conflicts. For some of us, apologizing feels like admitting we’re inadequate. We may think that, rather than having made a mistake, there is something inherently wrong with us. Perhaps we believe that the first apology after an argument is an admission of guilt and responsibility for the conflict. Maybe an apology feels like the other person is taking no responsibility for that person’s part in the problem.
Whatever the reason, I think we can all agree that most of us hold our tongues when we find ourselves in situations that require a simple “I’m sorry”. Yet, a well-delivered, sincere apology will generally avoid all of these issues. It will serve to usher in a resolution, reaffirm shared values, and restore positive feelings.
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I once had the privilege of spending time with a wise Buddhist monk named Ang Losang in the mountains of Nepal. He taught me many valuable lessons, but one, in particular, struck a chord with me. “Respect the old when you are young, help the weak when you are strong, confess when you are wrong because one day you will be old, weak, and wrong.” Since then, I never wanted to make a mistake and not be willing to admit my wrongs and apologize. I wanted the people around me to feel like they are worth my self-reflection and humility.
Almost all the time, apologizing is beneficial to us both mentally and physically. Here’s how it impacts us:
It Helps Us Understand Our Own Shortcomings
When we find ourselves having to apologize, we naturally start thinking about the actions that led to that moment. As we spend time reflecting on how we have negatively affected other people, we begin to realize our mistakes. Once we truly understand where we went wrong, the chances of us repeating our mistakes in the future become slim.
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It Shows Empathy and Builds Respect
There is nothing cowardly about recognizing when we’re wrong. It takes a compelling individual to admit fault, do everything possible to fix the wrong, and prevent it from happening again. Apologizing is a testament to our understanding of other’s feelings. A sincere apology might not only earn the forgiveness of those who we affected, but could also earn their respect.
It Helps Us Move On
When we owe someone an apology, it impacts us physically and mentally. We toss and turn in bed at night, may experience a sinking feeling in our chests and even eat or drink more than we should. Saying the words “I’m sorry” can lighten the baggage of guilt we carry around. Knowing that we understand our mistakes and acted to make up for the damage we’ve caused will help ease our burden and let us move on.
It Sets an Example for Others
Many accomplished, successful, and legendary change-makers in the world share one trait. They’re not afraid to admit they are wrong, and they make sure not to repeat the same mistake twice. Great leaders grow in the eyes of their followers when they apologize and do things differently or not at all in the future.
This behavior makes their followers see them as powerful human beings who take responsibility for and learn from their mistakes.
It Builds Self-Esteem
Apologizing can be very liberating as doing so means we’re taking responsibility for our actions. An apology has the power to humble even the most arrogant of people. It takes courage to admit our wrongs and work through our resistance to apologizing. In the end, it’s worthwhile because it leads to a deep sense of self-respect and a higher level of self-esteem.
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Long ago, I, too, felt that apologizing was a sign of weakness. However, because of the many things life taught me, I quickly learned how powerful an apology can be. Whenever there is a misunderstanding between me and my employees, I always apologize and say it’s my fault because I’ve not been clear enough regarding the situation, event, or rule. Sometimes, even when we’re not wrong, an apology can change the entire energy of a situation and lead to a more positive outcome.
As Mark Mathers said, “Apologizing does not always mean you are wrong and someone else is right. It just means you value your relationship more than your ego.”
About Andres Pira – philanthropist, real estate tycoon, author, speaker, and global citizen. Andres Pira enjoys living in Thailand where his journey began from Homeless to Billionaire.
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