Admit When You Are Wrong

John Steinbeck said “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” I often feel the same for the best laid plans Price and men. I had hoped to have my second book in the PLAY NICE series out by April 1. I moved that date to July 1 which obviously did not happen. I’m now at a place where PLAY NICE in Your Sandbox at Home will be released when it is released.

In the meantime, I thought I would share a couple of chapters with you – one this week and another next week. I’ve had some writing pros look over the book and they tell me it is worthwhile reading. I hope you agree.

Section Three: Admit When You Are Wrong

“To keep your marriage brimming, with love in the wedding cup,

whenever you’re wrong, admit it; whenever you’re right, shut up.”

—Ogden Nash


I don’t know how much you weigh, but I can give you a great weight-loss recommendation. You could quickly shed needless pounds through this one recommendation: take off the mask you have been wearing for several years.


In case I’m getting too personal, let me ask you to think of others you know who spend much of their time and energy trying to get others to believe they have it all together. While this might not actually add to their physical stature, I can promise you it takes a toll on their relationships and their outlook on life.


Please don’t take what I’m saying too far. Some degree of self-protection is necessary and helpful to healthy relationships. We all need a healthy ego, an accurate, and positive self-image. But, like so many aspects of life, a good thing taken to an extreme becomes a bad thing. You likely know people for whom admitting they are wrong is difficult, if not impossible. A key component of a healthy ego, however, is the ability to admit when you are wrong and to accept any consequences connected to your wrong actions or behavior. So many problems in marriage could be avoided if one or both parties would suspend their efforts to “save face” and admit they did or said something inappropriate.


Dr. Mark Goulston, one of my all-time favorite authors (Just Listen; Get Out of Your Own Way; Talking to Crazy), observes that when people are verbally attacking one another, they are actually defending themselves from perceived attacks from the other. If that is true, and I believe it is, when either party stops the attack, the other can stop his or her defense and the battle can end. This “truce” would give the couple an opportunity to reasonably and rationally discuss whatever got them so upset in the first place. And, as Charles Herguth states,“ Truce is better than friction.”


Another book you might want to add to your library is Daring Greatly by Brené Brown. Ms. Brown makes the bold assertion that while most of us shun vulnerability at all costs, we should rather embrace and enjoy it. I consider that concept to be “R” rated in that it is not suitable for children.


Can you remember being around young children and being amused by their assertions that they are the “strongest,” the “fastest,” the “best?” These boasts are comical and harmless when coming from children. They are anything but comical and harmless when coming from someone who is supposed to have outgrown their childhood and become an adult.


Face it: we are all fragile and imperfect in some respects. Some people have gotten very good at hiding their vulnerability from others, and perhaps even from themselves. Such efforts make admitting when you have wronged someone difficult if not impossible.


It is a certainty in any close relationship that, over time, one party will hurt or disappoint the other. The only unknown is how long the impact of that mistreatment will last. The quickest way I know to lessen the time is to honestly admit your wrong, ask forgiveness, and move on.


I caution you, however, that for your admission to be accepted, it must be genuine. Please don’t ever try to sugar coat your misdeeds. To say something like “If I wronged you” or “Maybe I hurt you, but . . .” is not likely to put the matter to rest. As the expression goes: “If you mess up, ‘fess up!”


I read of a physics teacher who held out a cup of water and asked her students how heavy it was. The correct answer she received was not very heavy at all. She then asked her students how heavy it might be if she were to hold the cup for an hour or a day. Holding on to pride or ego and refusing to admit when you did wrong can get very heavy over time and take a serious toll on your relationship and happiness.


Chapter Challenge: Learn to practice the fine art of humility and see what it does for your household harmony. Please don’t go out of your way to hurt someone just so you can admit you did wrong, but you might want to look back to a time when you wronged your spouse or children and never admitted it. There likely is no better time than the present, so Nike, my friend: “Just do it!”