Hard to say you're sorry

Sorry, I made a mistake.

Five simple words, easy enough to say, yet for some, they seem unutterable.

I can’t say I like it when I screw up, but we’re all human. We make mistakes.

So much energy is consumed in trying to hide a blunder. The mental and emotional coin required to cover something up is expensive. I’ve always found great relief in simply owning my errors.

As a child, I learned some simple facts the hard way.

When you tell the truth, you never have to remember a lie you told.

When you make a mistake, trying to cover it up makes things complicated, and your character is called into question. Character and integrity matter greatly to me.

I taught my children that I could handle any news they had, but I couldn’t handle a lie.

As news continued of U.S. President Donald Trump covering up his mistaken statement about the path of Hurricane Dorian, I shook my head in puzzlement. It’s sadly become laughable.

With all the twists and turns, the use of a sharpie pen to prove innocence, and blaming others for an error, a simple mistake has claimed the headlines.

Something relatively small has taken on an epic size. I’ve been fascinated to see what’s next, curious about who else will need to take the fall.

The need to save face, to prove himself right, has blown a simple mistake into international headlines.

At what cost?

I respect and trust people willing to admit their bloopers and take responsibility for them.

I also question the character of those who hide or deny their errors, or turn to excuses or blaming. My confidence and trust in their veracity is diminished, and it leaks into other aspects of our relationship.

Everything becomes suspect.

News stories this past week have caused me to be grateful for my early life lessons, that have made my life happier and less complicated. Owning up to my shortcomings and taking responsibility for my mistakes is strangely like a balm to my mind and soul.

I have nothing to hide, and most important, I can look myself in the mirror and sleep with a clear conscience. At the end of the day, owning up to mistakes, accepting my own imperfect humanity with humility, and humour, is a selfish act.

The personal cost of trying to hide something is a price I’m not willing to pay.

As human beings, we are prone to make mistakes.

We make mistakes, but we are not our mistakes. We are humans evolving, often just trying our best to do the right thing. Many times, my best learning comes from the mistakes I’ve made.

Owning up to our mistakes, knowing they don’t define us assists us to learn and grow. Taking responsibility to make things right when we’ve done something untoward makes us feel better.

Being human doesn’t require that we are perfect, whatever perfect is.

Our character isn’t defined by the mistakes we make, but the way we deal with them.

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About the Author

Corinne is first a wife, mother, and grandmother, whose eclectic background has created a rich alchemy that serves to inform her perspectives on life.

Corinne, a registered nurse with a master’s degree in Health Science, is a staff minister with the Centre for Spiritual Living Kelowna, and a hospice volunteer. She is an adjunct professor with the school of nursing  at UBC Okanagan, and is currently teaching smartUBC, a unique Mindfulness program offered at UBC, to the public. She is an invited speaker and presenter.

From diverse experience and knowledge, personally and professionally, Corinne has developed an extraordinary passion for helping people to gain a new perspective, awaken, and to recognize that we do not have to be a slave to our thoughts or to life; we are always at a point of change.

Through this column, Corinne blends her insights and research to provide food for the mind and the heart, to encourage an awakening of the power and potential within everyone.

Corinne lives in Kelowna with her husband of 41 years, and can be reached at [email protected].

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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