Many people are incapable of accepting that they are ever wrong – even when indisputable facts are there to prove it.
People will even say they are sorry sometimes but don’t hold your breath waiting for those three little words; ‘I was wrong!’ If they do come out they are usually wrapped in a shroud of qualification and excuses – with most of the blame diverted elsewhere. Of course, as we see and hear daily on the airwaves, politicians are the worst offenders.
No matter how blatant the cock-up, they will pathetically wriggle and twist the truth to try and make black look white, while continuing to plead ‘not guilty’. “Alternative facts” (!), spin doctoring, twisted half-truths and deceptive comments are what we are tired hearing from politicians – and not only on the other side of the Atlantic.
Why is it so difficult for people to admit they are wrong when being wrong is the most natural trait we are born with? Is it pure ego, pride, selfishness, a fear of losing face, or maybe they just want to dodge the consequences of their conduct? Why is it so hard to accept that being wrong is human and we are all the same? Even we ‘ordinary’ people are inclined to pitch our image too high and don’t wish to be ‘found out.’
So, if we are sure to be wrong, why not free ourselves from the fear of it by just standing up and saying “I was wrong”?
Ben Dunne re-invented himself when he found enough humility in Florida to put up his hands and utter the magic words, “I was wrong” and he has enjoyed a better life ever since. Waterford hard man, John Mullane, also earned the respect of the nation when, instead of the customary attempt to appeal on-field wrong-doing, he said; ‘When you do the crime, you do the time’ and he took his three months hurling suspension.
Both Dunne and Mullane made themselves ‘OK guys’ with the people and are remembered years afterwards for admitting they were wrong. When you can admit to being wrong, people tend to believe you in other areas.
While being wrong is accepted by others as being human, being wrong and lying about it makes you unethical and questionable in all areas of your life. How long more will it take politicians to realise that the first one to fire his spin doctor, stand up and say he was wrong will be remembered long after the pathological political liars are forgotten?
Character is the management of your own imperfection and the real test of character is admitting you are wrong when it is likely to cost you more than a lie.
People are more likely to help you when you admit to being wrong. Not only this, but when you go to someone you have wronged and are willing to make amends; you will most likely find the other person meeting you half way. When you say ‘I was wrong’ don’t then dilute it with a rake of excuses. Other people will put forward the reasons for you if they see you being genuine.
Even if you believe you were not 100% wrong in a dispute, admit to being wrong for the way you handled the incident. One Christmas, many years ago, I wrote a short note to someone with whom I had had a major difference and we weren’t speaking for years as a result. Whilst I had not caused the rift, I was wrong in how I handled it so I wrote: “I want nothing done or said in return, but I just want to say I was wrong for the part I played in your upset during this incident and I am sorry.”
Our close relationship resumed and as I requested, the letter was never mentioned again until it was found in a prayer-book after the person’s death. What I am saying is that the benefits of being honest about your ‘wrongs’ far outweigh the negative consequences of the reverse. To get full benefit it must be clear that you do not expect any reward for admitting to being wrong, but admitting you are wrong refreshes not only your own soul but those of the people around you.
Finally though; never say you are wrong if you are not. I have done this a few times, for peace sake or some other ulterior motive and it leaves a sourer taste in the mouth than not admitting when you really are wrong.
All men make mistakes – husbands just find out about them sooner.