People make mistakes. That’s the way it is. In this area, we’re all guilty as charged. Trying to deny it would be futile. Despite our attempts, sometimes we mess up.
When I started dating Carlentz, I was really trying hard to be perfect. My motto: “no mistakes allowed; this is a serious relationship.” Because of the high standards (okay, I should say unrealistic standards) I had for myself, I unconsciously expected her to be perfect as well. That didn’t work too well…I soon realized that my “strategy” wasn’t going to get me very far…
Because we’re all in the same boat and all make mistakes, we should always be willing to extend a measure of mercy to the people around us when they make mistakes.
As a father of three young children, a lot of mercy is being extended nowadays, i.e. my kids are so quick to forgive my mistakes! It helps that I’m their provider!
If you’re like me, you don’t like making mistakes, especially when someone gets hurt as a result. But it does happen: you do make mistakes and people do get hurt as a result. When it happens, there are simple steps you can take to make things right again.
- Don’t try to hide your mistakes. Making a mistake can be very embarrassing, and I don’t know anyone who enjoys being embarrassed. Although you can be tempted to hide the mistake, don’t. When you mess up, fess up.
- Offer a sincere apology. When you’ve done wrong, you should, at a minimum, apologize to the offended party. Whether or not he or she accepts your apology is another story. Acknowledge your mistake and be sensitive to the way that person may feel.
- Commit to repair the breach. If there’s something to restitute, restitute it. If there’s something to fix, fix it. If there’s money to reimburse, reimburse it. Do whatever you can to offer repair.
- Commit to work on you. As a general rule, you should always be working at improving yourself. Sometimes, the mistakes you make reveal areas of your life that require work. As you work on yourself, focus on correcting the behaviour that created the issue.
- Give him or her time to heal from the hurt. When you’ve hurt someone, a simple apology–as genuine and heartfelt as it may be–doesn’t erase the mistake and eliminate its consequences. The offended party may need some time to heal from the hurt. You should be willing to let him or her have that time, and do what you can to help the healing process.
We should do our best not to mess up. But when we do, let’s strive to make things right.
Question: How do to make things right when you know you’ve messed up? You can leave a comment below.