It is magnificent to realize that even if you screwed up yesterday, today can be different. When you have done something wrong, it is not the end of the world, take steps to make things better. Sometimes people get so upset about the past they forget what a present the present day can be. My husband has one method for dealing with every mistake he makes no matter how big or how small. Here it is: "When you mess up, 'fess up and then fix up." He has applied this formula to every mistake or problem he has had for the 27 years I have known him and this method has worked remarkably well.
Let's look at part one. It is inevitable. As long as we are alive on the earth, at one time or another, we are going to make mistakes, do things wrong or just make a mess of a situation. It is part of rice and as certain as sunrise, sunset and taxes in America. Since mistakes, accidents and messes happen the prudent thing is not to avoid them, but to figure out the best way to handle them once they have occurred.
The first thing you must do when you make a mistake is the 'fess up. The 'fessing up is a two-part process. Part one occurs after you make a mistake, confess, admit you made the mistake. It is not good to try to deny it, to try to blame someone else or to minimize the situation. The best course of action is to admit you were wrong and that you made a mistake, period. Don't make excuses, don't try to minimize it, just admit you were wrong. Most people have heard the expression, "The first step is to admit you have a problem." That is the advice given to people at the start of AA or NA meetings. Even psychologist Dr. Phil tells people that they cannot fix what they not acknowledge is wrong. So, once you make a mistake, 'fess up, admit you made a mistake.
The second part of the 'fessing up process is the part where you say the words, " I am sorry." Often people think the admission of wrongdoing is sufficient. It is not, the words, "I am sorry." Must be said. The person who is the victim of your mistake, accident or mess must hear you say the words in order to believe that you mean them. Apologizing is good for you and for the victim of your mistakes. So, apologize, say the words to show you actually apologize.
The next and final step in the mistake correction plan is to fix the problem. Once you have made a mistake, accident or mess and admitted the mistake was your mistake, you must move to fix the problem. There are a variety of corrective measures that can be taken. The correct one depends on the exact circumstances involved. For example, if you break a vase at a friend's house you can:
- replace the vase win an identical item
- give your friend monetary compensation for the vase
- repair the vase
- offer a substitute as a replacement
- ask your friend to suggest acceptable corrective action
It is important to keep in mind that sometimes, none of your actions will "fix" the situation. In those cases, the fix may be to figure out a way to keep the mistake, accident or mess up from happening again. For example if you break your word and cause harm to someone else and nothing short of creating a time machine and going back in time can fix what has been done, do the following:
- admit that what happened was your fault
- specifically say, "I am sorry" for what has taken place
- make a list of things you will do, realistically and honestly to keep the mistake, accident or mess from happening again
In conclusion, it is magnificent to know that no matter how bad yesterday was, today is a whole new adventure. So, the question for you this magnificent day is what are you doing to shake off the troubles of yesterday?