Relationships: Correcting Your Mistakes
Your relationship to others should have more value than the need to be right. Accepting responsibility for an offense or mistake that you have made and expressing regret for the wrong that was done, is essential for a long lasting relationship. Doing it in a truthful manner and committing not to do it again is a critical part of repairing a mistake.
Don’t wait to correct a mistake, do it immediately! Many of us delay correcting a mistake, due largely in part to fear of the consequences from the person they need to direct the correction to. Some may be unaware that they have offended another person, while others just don’t know how to correct the mistake.
Growing up in Hawaii as kids, we were always taught by example from our na kupuna (elders) how to immediately correct any wrong that was created toward others. It never felt forced or demanded that we do the right thing. It was our way of life growing up in Honaunau, Kona. Seeing the positive outcome was rewarding enough for us to understand the right thing to do.
My son, at the age of nine, was already practicing correcting mistakes or making right what was wronged. I like to think that he got this from observing my wife and I correcting our mistakes with each other in a gentle and kind way. His cousin was visiting us for a week and upon returning home complained to his mom that my son broke his toy. Overhearing my wife and her sister on the phone discussing this incident angered my son because he felt he was innocent. I remember him shouting, “I didn’t do it mom!” Minutes later he called his cousin to discuss how his cousin put the toy on his shelf, which suddenly fell and landed on the floor. “Maybe it broke then, my son said?” I think the conversation took less than five minutes when I overheard my son saying, “No problem, I love you too.” Dealing with correcting complex mistakes at an older age is easier when you are raised with this concept at a very young age.
I understand the apprehension some people may have in ‘owning up’ to their mistakes. It takes courage and humility to correct a wrong. It is the right thing to do for the sake of those we have offended. It’s also healthy for the creator of the mistake to rectify the conflict. The outcome is a healthy dose of self-awareness and it keeps us accountable and brings clarity so we don’t have to repeat the same mistake again. My father once told me, “An unintelligent mistake is when you repeat the same mistake more than once. An intelligent mistake is when you don’t repeat the same mistake again.”
Accepting the fact that you have done something wrong, melts away Ego and allows for self-correcting. A strong soul is one that doesn’t need to strive for perfection, but one that recognizes when their mistake hurt others. A strong soul is one who takes responsibility for one’s actions, expresses their wrong doing, and never repeats the action every again.
Admitting to our mistakes is not easy for some, but the cost for the alternative – denial, hiding from the truth, deception – is far more costly. I have seen on many occasions, patients in my clinic suffering from a debilitating condition that had some aspect of someone creating a mistake on them or the other way around in years past. Holding on to or living with an old mistake is not healthy at all!
The first step in correcting any wrongdoing is to take the initiative to acknowledge you created the mistake. When you do this, you are taking responsibility for your actions. Doing something with meaningful commitment is the foundation for an integral life or a harmonious life. It builds integrity when done from the heart. Eliminate any excuses and don’t take things personally when there is a response from the receiver of the mistake. Having pure intentions of making things right puts a higher value on the rekindling of the relationship that is agreeable with the receiver.
The next step is to undo what you did. By “owning up” to your actions or behavior with the other person indicates that what you did was wrong and you are asking “what can I do to make it right?” Your body language, facial expression, and tone of voice should be consistent with your words and heart. Let your intentions on the inhale breath be pono (aligned) with your words on the exhale breath. Your intentions should be for the highest good for all parties concerned. Watch and choose your words wisely. Eliminate words such as, “if, but, I want to, and using a passive voice.
Finally, cut the energetic cord to the entire incident. Transmute this energy by surrounding it with white light. Recycle this transmuted energy into the air (universe). Create a positive mantra for the outcome such as, I am love, we are love, our relationship is a positive loving one, etc.
There are a few things that are very real: accidents, human flaws, and forgiveness. The first two may be out of our control so we must do our best with the third. The purpose of correcting our mistakes is to build upon a sustainable, healthy, and rich community of supportive citizens. Honoring each other and practicing self-awareness may not be easy at first, but one thing is certain, you can’t lose by correcting a mistake.