“I WAS WRONG”
How many of us of saying the words “I was wrong?” For the longest time, I couldn’t. I couldn’t stand to be wrong.
I’m a personal trainer in Mississauga, Ontario. I do fitness training in the GTA and Mississauga, as well as weight loss coaching and life coaching in the GTA and Mississauga. My latest offering is online personal training and online weight loss coaching and online life coaching.
Someone once told me something I’ll never forget: “Mike, you have a choice. You can be right, or you can be happy. It’s up to you.”
If I can’t admit I make mistakes, and if I can’t admit I’m wrong when I do, then something is seriously awry. People make mistakes. That’s part of the human condition. That means I make mistakes too, right? So why wasn’t I able to see it for so long?
It was because of my ego. Chuck Chamberlain defined ego as “Conscious Separation From.” From what? From you. From life. From everything and everyone. Nobody wants to be around someone who can’t own up to it when they mess up.
But I felt so threatened by being wrong! I felt that you’d judge me, laugh at me, ridicule me or reject me. Admitting I was wrong would have been like giving up a part of myself. Maybe even giving myself up entirely. To what, I’m not exactly sure, but since I self-identified so closely with being right, to be wrong would mean I’d lose…ME! So I JUST…COULDN’T…BE…WRONG. Ever.
Of course, the more I insisted I was always right, the more tired and frustrated people got with me. Many just gave up on me, not wanting to hang around my nonsense any longer. Who wants to be around someone like that?
I remember one time in university when I lived with 4 other guys. We shared the rent and paid the electricity bill together. The winters here are cold, and so I had a space heater in my room that I often ran. One of my housemates suggested I wear a sweater and not run the heater (I wore a t-shirt all the time). I said I didn’t want to, that a sweater wouldn’t solve the problem because it was my hands and feet were the things that got cold, not my body.
He tried to explain that a warmer body results in warmer extremities, but I argued with him.
“You’re never wrong, are you Mike?” He asked. My other housemates joined in concurring that he was right: I could never admit I was wrong, they said. I proceeded to try and argue with all of them as to why they were wrong in thinking that I was always right! How ridiculous was that?!? I just didn’t get it. I just couldn’t say to them “You know what? You may have a point,” and give their suggestion a try.
I look back on that with sadness. It wasn’t until I was in my late 20s that I began to become self-critical enough to see my mistakes and errors. It’s too bad it took so long.
I’ve worked with many others who struggle with the concept that they make mistakes. They don’t apologize, ever. They don’t seem to be able to. I try to help them see that it’s impossible that one person can be right all the time. It’s usually a process to help them get to a place where they can admit fault. It’s rare that they can see it right away.
But it never fails that, when they finally see that they’re simply human too, they seem to become more settled and happy. “People are as happy as they make up their minds to be,” said Abraham Lincoln. For me, part of being happy is about making up my mind to always be self-critical enough to see where I’m wrong. It also means that I need to be able to admit it when it happens. And I need to use the words “I was wrong.”
Too often I used to say, “I’m sorry,” and then would go on to repeat the same hurtful behaviours. I learned that people aren’t interested in my “I’m sorry’s.” But the words “I was wrong” or “I believe I hurt you” tend to make a much larger impact.
How about you? Do you always have to be right? When was the last time you offered someone an honest, heartfelt amends for harms done or mistakes made? I’m not talking about an apology. Apologies are about saying sorry. Amends are about admitting wrongs. Amends are much more powerful.
If you need help in this area, or if you’re struggling in any other area of life, it’s quite possible that I can help. Whether it’s about needing to lose weight, or just needing support to get to where you need to be, I’m available. Call me at 647-677-6025, or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to talk to you about your struggle(s), and how I can help.
So, you too can be happy, or you can be right, but you can’t be both. Can you see that.
Which path will you choose?
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