When I was young, I stole my brother’s brand new bicycle and went for a ride. As fate would have it, I hit a stone and fell off. Though I did not get hurt, the bicycle did and the look on my brother’s face when he saw the bike made me wish it was me. Instead of apologising, I defended myself, insisting that it was the bicycle brakes that had failed to work.
As the argument heated up, my mother called and asked me what the matter was. I explained everything. She said, “Go and tell your brother that it was your fault and that you shouldn’t have taken his bike without asking him first. Tell him you are sorry it was damaged and that you should have been more careful. Ask him for forgiveness.”
I was more than certain that my brother was not going to forgive me, but I tried it anyway. “Man I’m so sorry. Please forgive me,” I said. He looked at me in shock and asked if I was serious. I told him that I should have asked for his permission first and that it was my mistake.
He immediately pardoned me and I was so amazed at how a genuine apology can cool a person down.
Acknowledging that you wronged someone and asking for forgiveness is not a matter of just uttering a few words. You have to show that you accept your mistake and have learned from it. Honesty is crucial.
It does not make any difference if the mistake is significant or not. Admit to it, apologise for it, fix it, and try not to repeat it.
Assume responsibility and do not put the blame on anyone or anything else. Don’t try to hide your mistake or pretend it didn’t happen.
Accept the consequences of your mistake. Whomever you have wronged will be annoyed or upset with you, but being honest about the situation will help calm their anger. Although you can’t change the past, you can avoid making the same mistake in the future so learn from it.
Mistakes are lessons of wisdom. The past cannot be changed but the future is still in your hands.