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
- 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