How to ask for forgiveness when you’ve made a mistake
Messed up? We all make mistakes in life, most of us every single day. Does it make you a bad person? An idiot? Evil? A lax worker? A bad father? A shitty girlfriend?
No – It makes you human.
You will make mistakes. Here is what to do about it.
1. Assume responsibility when you’ve made a mistake
Yes you – if you’ve made a mistake the first thing you need to do is to accept the blame for it. So many people shift blame when they are in the wrong, and this is never helpful, it just delays the inevitable. If you have done something wrong and made a mistake – own up to it and admit it. There’s a real strength in that. Real women and real men own up to their mistakes, children don’t.
We all make mistakes – it’s a guarantee in life.
I love this quote, “blame and excuses are the hallmarks of an unsuccessful life”. I think we all know someone who is deeply unhappy with his or her life, and it’s never their own fault. It’s always due to their crappy childhood or their overbearing parents. It could be because of circumstance or the fact that they were born shorter than their brother or into a ‘struggling’ family.
By assuming responsibility – you are taking charge. You are owning your mistakes. You are moving on. Be brave, pull your socks up, take a deep breath and assume responsibility.
- Say, “Yes. I did that. I made a mistake”
2. Make a sincere apology to ask for forgiveness
It’s important, very important. But what makes a sincere apology? How do you effectively say you’re sorry? First off, the person you need to apologise to needs to be able to hear you. They may not be able to forgive you yet, but they need to be able to let your words in.
Think about what you did that caused you to react the wrong way.
Make it genuine, and don’t try to justify your actions. Make a commitment to change your actions in the future and make sure you choose your words carefully, not expecting a conclusion that makes you feel better. The conclusion to your apology may be awkward, or not as you expect. This is ok. You have done your bit.
- Say, “I am sorry for the mistake I made.”
3. Accept the consequences of your mistake
If there are consequences to your actions or words, accept them. Don’t try to wheedle your way out of anything bad that comes up. Just accept it and move on. The truth always comes out in the end – so fess up to your mistakes. Sometimes this can even help people identify with you and think of you as a better person. It takes a really strong person to accept the consequences of their actions.
Take your punishment with as much courage as you are able to. It will make you a better, stronger person.
- Say, “I know what I did caused problems. I am aware of these problems.”
4. Make things right
If you can fix things, then do. If you have made a mistake at work or at home that you can resolve, this is a great step towards healing yourself.
It can be difficult to take this advice, as it requires you to be humble and contrite. Most human beings don’t like this – it makes them feel weak and uncomfortable. But it will actually make you feel stronger.
“Most clients say that their most trusted contractors have not been perfect, but that when mistakes were made, the contractor made it up to them by admitting their responsibility and offering either a steep discount or replacement free of charge in exchange for the inconvenience caused by their error.” Wikihow.
- Say, “If I can help to set things right, then I will. I commit to that.”
5. Ask for forgiveness
Once you have apologised, you can ask for forgiveness. The other person (or party) does not have to give it, but you have now done all that you are required to do.
“When you make a mistake, don’t look back at it long. Take the reason of the thing into your mind and then look forward. Mistakes are lessons of wisdom. The past cannot be changed. The future is yet in your power.” Hugh White: United Kingdom, Royal Navy.
- Say, “I have said I am sorry, I have learned from my mistakes and I ask for your forgiveness.”