Do you find struggling with saying “I’m sorry” or “ I admit, I was wrong”?
We all commit mistakes, and we do so with regularity. And most of us do not enjoy doing so, it is an unpleasant experience. But we differ in our response when we turn out we were wrong.
I had a client who was eventually found out he was having an affair. Instead of denying it, he immediately admitted and was remorseful to his wife. While the discovery still brought pain, anger, and significant damage on the relationship, the healing was progressing well.
But others can be more defiant. They refuse to admit even in the face of overwhelming evidence. Another spouse I met in the clinic insists that her life is in a mess because of her husband. When I pointed out that she also has a contribution to their problem, she continued to be adamant and blamed her husband for her woes.
Why do some people not admit that they are wrong? What in their psychological makeup makes it impossible for them to admit they were wrong, even if it is obvious that they were? Why do they never admit that they were wrong?
The answer is a weak ego, a fragile self-esteem. Their psychological constitution is too brittle that admitting they are wrong is too threatening for their egos to tolerate.
Since the admission would potentially disintegrate their sense of self, their psychological system build defense mechanisms that actually make the person literally distort his perception of reality less threatening.
The defense mechanism protects the fragile ego by changing the very facts in their mind, so they are no longer wrong.
Even if they are psychologically fragile by definition, these people to others can appear strong and confident, standing their ground and not backing down.
But this psychological rigidity is not a sign of strength; it is a manifestation of weakness. It is not actually a conscious choice but a compulsion to protect a weak ego.
To admit a mistake takes a certain amount of emotional strength and courage to deal with the reality. And the consequence is freedom, real freedom.
In our world where treachery and lying dominate the scene, we need people who are strong enough to own their mistakes and take their responsibility seriously, and learning from the lessons, committing to become better the next time around.