That’s right—you’re wrong and you don’t want to admit it. The biggest obstacle a lot of us face is admitting that we’re not always right. Some of us may take never admitting failure as a sign of being stoic or macho. Or at least we see admitting fault as defeat yet the reality is it only becomes defeat if you don’t accept it and learn from it.
It is the ultimate sign of humility, confidence and courage to be able to accept a mistake you made. It is a sign of humility because you are acknowledging in the act that you are not above everyone else and that you are capable of getting things wrong. It is a sign of confidence because it takes a certain level of self-esteem to admit that you are at fault and not let yourself be defined by that fault. And it is a sign of courage because it takes a little bravery to admit something that you may not want to admit especially to someone you may not want to admit it to.
Not admitting fault can hinder relationships. To spell out the reason why this would impede a relationship’s progress is it is because there are very few equivalent acts of insult out there. If someone you know and care for asks you to acknowledge something that you know you were at fault for and you refuse to acknowledge it in no uncertain terms then what you are essentially saying is that you care more about being right than you care about them or that their opinions and viewpoints are invalid next to yours. You know how it is that we’ve previously talked about the fact that everyone seeks some form of validation—well, this is the total opposite. It is a severe form of invalidation and putting down others to keep yourself up and it will destroy most if not all of the trust that the person you are putting down has in you.
But beyond the harm that not acknowledging a mistake or fault can do to those around you, it can also do severe damage to you yourself. The first step to addressing a problem is acknowledging its existence. If you are in denial about your fallibility then you are missing a major opportunity to learn and grow. And in true fashion to the laws of this world we live in, life will keep giving you the same bad results until you learn from what is causing them.
If you find it hard to ever admit a fault, defeat, mistake or failure then think about a couple of things. Firstly, people in general are attracted to and feel a deeper sense of connection with others they can relate to, not really people they put on a pedestal (hence why many celebrities have meteoric falls after the tiniest error in judgment). And the truth is we can all relate to the fact that we are not 100% perfect and therefore make mistakes. So if you want to really connect with people you have to be genuine about your faults.
Secondly, like any muscle in the body, the more you exercise being honest to yourself and others about your shortcomings the easier it gets to do so. Thirdly, the more you recognize your faults and the faster you get at doing so the easier it becomes to prevent those errors of judgment from occurring again.
Fourthly, and perhaps the most concerning point for most people, is that you can admit an error you made without losing dignity and respect. The truth of the matter is people may or may not like the mistake that you made in the moment but in the long run they develop a tremendous amount of respect for you doing so especially if in the process of acknowledging whatever the error is you recognize and thank them for their role in helping you realize the problem and remedy it.
There are many reasons and remedies to why we refuse to admit fault, but these are a sampling of what I know to be the most common. Next time you find yourself on this forked road, take a deep breath to consider what we have just discussed instead of instinctively reacting and let me know how it goes for you by commenting or dropping me a note.