Owning things is fun. A new car, a nice house, the smartphone we can’t seem to live without — Getting new things is fun. We have to try out all the bells and whistles. Fiddle with the knobs. Find the best ring tone. Check out the new features. Move the sofa five times to find the perfect spot.
We can’t wait to show everyone. We take photos of that new car and put them all over Facebook. We drive over to our mom’s or a friend’s house to take them for spin. We have housewarming parties and invite all of our friends over to share in our excitement. We hop on twitter to share the news about our new phone. Hashtag iPhone6, Hashtag Love, Hashtag MyPrecious
Then the bill comes due. The first car payment, the monthly mortgage check, the monthly cell phone bill — Paying is not as fun as getting. We all know this.
But things aren’t all that we own. Our words, our reputations, our truths, our mistakes — We own all of those too, and it seems like no one wants to take ownership of those.
A few weeks ago something happened that sent shock waves racing through my online friends. Now, everyone is talking about Brian Williams. I’ve watched both of these things play out online. I believe both would have been stopped immediately with an upfront, simple apology. “I was wrong. I’m sorry.”
We all make mistakes. Sometimes because our memory fails, sometimes because we are ignorant of the hurt that our words cause, and sometimes simply because we are human and we screw up, but when we attempt to justify our mistakes it makes it look like we aren’t sorry that we committed them. Excuses weaken an apology.
“But I didn’t know.” “But I forgot.” “But I was distracted.” “But I…”
Maybe you didn’t know. Maybe you did forget. Maybe you were distracted. Maybe you had a really great reason for screwing up. None of that matters to the person that is hurting.
Taking ownership of your mistakes does not make you weak. It makes you honest.