Part of being human is making mistakes. It’s an unfortunate but necessary part of life. When you make mistakes that affect someone you care about, you risk damaging or possibly ending the relationship. Sometimes you don’t know you made a mistake. So, when you learn that you have, you must take action.
The Golden Rule says to treat people the way you want to be treated. Early forms of this rule go back as far as 1780 B.C.
“Practicing the Golden Rule is not a sacrifice; it is an investment.”
- Author Unknown
When you find that you have broken the golden rule:
- Take immediate action. The longer you wait, the harder it is to act. It is very best to take action in the moment before leaving the situation. If you later realize or discover your mistake, drop what you are doing and take action now.
- Acknowledge your mistake. Explain to the person that you know you made a mistake. Briefly describe what you did.
- Humbly take full responsibility. It was you who made the mistake. Being humble by taking full responsibility opens the door for passing through the situation.
- Apologize for it. Sincerely apologize for what you did. If it isn’t sincere, don’t apologize. An insincere apology causes more damage and hurts your credibility and character.
- Ask for forgiveness. Asking for forgiveness puts control in the other person’s hands to decide to forgive you or not. If you have followed the steps above it is very difficult for someone to not forgive you.
- Allow time to regain trust. Just because you have been forgiven doesn’t mean you can be trusted again. In time through your actions you will be able to rebuild your character and reestablish the trust you once had.
When have you made a mistake that you had to apologize for?
When have you forgiven someone who has hurt you?