Admitting When We're Wrong
By Britny Montano | Long Beach, CA
Let’s face it, at some point or another, we are all wrong. Some maybe a little more than others, but everyone is human, makes mistakes, and doesn’t always hit the mark when the target can seem a little too easy to miss. Over the past few years I’ve made mental observations on how those around me (myself included) communicate about the conundrums we perpetuate because of one basic thing: we cannot admit when we are wrong. As someone who has personally been called out on this I decided to unpack how this lack of acknowledgment causes so many heartbreaks, misinterpretations, dragged out arguments and passive aggression. The more I thought about this the more I was reminded of the Golden Rule from kindergarten: Treat others the way you want to be treated. So many of life's sticky situations can all be avoided with five words or less, “I’m sorry, I was wrong.”
"...there is something notably said for those taking responsibility for that 1%."
In previous years I recall myself responding to troubled friends with responses such as, “Yeah! You’re absolutely right. Don’t apologize first,” to, “Is there anything you could’ve done to prevent this?” From listening to issues and having my own across the relationship categories, I don’t think anyone is ever 100% to blame for ensuing arguments. Even if your fault in a predicament may only be 1%, there is something notably said for those taking responsibility for that 1%.
The question dawned on me, why are we so afraid to throw our hands up and wave the white flag admitting where we are mistaken? Everyone wants this kind of acknowledgment if they feel wronged, yet many people find it defeating to admit when they themselves are wrong.
Admitting you’re wrong isn’t conceding the other person to be right, rather, simply taking responsibility for your own hurtful words or actions.
"Sometimes just acknowledging this can be the stride needed to avoid the progression of a negative situation."
Sometimes just acknowledging this can be the stride needed to avoid the progression of a negative situation. Think of arguments between your colleagues, children/parents, partners, or between friends. How do they normally get resolved? Of course a hormonal-teenage-Snapchat-warrior can have difficulty seeing why they are at fault for anything, BUT I’ve noticed a lot of adults don’t behave too far from this. Having experience with passive aggressive roommates, friends, partners, and family members I have seen the consequences of not addressing one’s own errors transcend age. Just because someone is older or the superior in a situation doesn’t automatically grant immunity from being wrong.
Many call the lack of admitting fault pride, stubbornness, or ego. However you label it, the inability to admit one’s shortcomings will always hinder the situation at hand. Which brings me to my original question: what are we so afraid of when it comes to admitting this? Are we afraid of an “I told you so?” Being seen as weak or caving in? Feelings of being hurt or not being heard don’t just evaporate. I am stuck on this issue because even though some would love to sweep arguments under the rug, be angry for a few days, then act as if nothing ever happened, doesn’t someone eventually trip over the bump in the rug?
"...trying to address these shortcomings within ourselves can't be a wrong first step."
In the moments I take a deep breath, look the other person in the eye admitting, “I'm sorry I shouldn’t have ____,” I cannot recall receiving a negative response perpetuating the situation. *The key here is tone and ingenuity.* As humans full of fault we aren’t told enough that it’s okay to be wrong. We are sometimes told its okay to fail or lose, but I don’t find this topic to be any different. Sure the other person may not always be as accepting, but trying to adjust these shortcomings within ourselves can’t be a wrong first step.
No matter what field of work or types of relationships we pursue disputes are inevitable. How we communicate will continuously be our own responsibility. Admitting faults aloud isn’t always an easy feat, yet every relationship can be better for it while moving towards a better understanding of themselves and others. Some people may not even realize particular actions or words they use have adverse effects on others, which can all start being addressed once both parties are in a space of accepting areas they all can work on.
"Accepting where we as individuals can enhance our own means of resolution can always influence those around us to enhance their own."
With ever evolving relationships and means of communicating, nobody has this life thing all figured out. I definitely fall off the wagon and continue to remind myself I’m not always right. Spoil alert – it’s okay. Accepting where we as individuals can enhance our own means of resolution can always influence those around us to enhance their own. Like everything else, it takes practice, patience, and maybe a little courage. Sometimes we just need to go back to the basics to solve the messier problems we adults find ourselves in.
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