(originally published June 24, 2010)
Boy, oh boy, do I have to arm wrestle, pull teeth and stamp my feet sometimes to get callers to simply admit to "my bad." You know, the individual desire to never look or be wrong or bad so that people won't punish you and/or will like you leads people to walk straight into retribution and dislike.
The absolutely best thing to do when you've done wrong is to accept and admit responsibility. Nothing makes others precipitously drop their rage than the sight and sound of someone owning up to his or her wrongdoing. After a certain amount of shock and disbelief, people will look at you with some awe, because taking responsibility and demonstrating remorse, and being willing to repair whatever damage has been caused is the most compassionate way to handle having hurt or disappointed someone.
Yes, you might have to deal with repercussions, but just think back to some of the old movies where people finally confess, because they simply can't stand the burden on their hearts and souls. It's true - it takes a lot of energy to hide and pretend. It's a relief to everyone if you just say: "Yeah, I did it....sorry. Here's how I would like to fix this situation and make it better.
"So, the very next time you "mess up," just "'fess up" and see how much better you and the hurt party feel and get along.