Telling the truth might seem like something that wouldn’t catch someone off guard, but imagine if you’re in a situation where lying would be the obvious thing to do. Like if you’re running late to a meeting. Telling the truth might catch people off guard. “I’m sorry I’m late, I didn’t plan well enough to be here on time.”
Maybe you lie a lot. And everyone knows it. Telling the truth would certainly catch people off guard.
Accepting responsibility is something all parents want their kids to do. “Did you break that lamp!?” “Yes I did.” Yet we rarely expect this from ourselves. It’s super easy to say it was someone else’s fault, or to find a totally acceptable reason why something happened. “I’m sorry I’m late, there was construction.”
Apologizing is something that we don’t do enough, because it’s difficult and uncomfortable. Because it’s easy to say “I’m sorry.” I once heard that saying sorry implies the other person had some fault in the situation. We also have a tendency to say sorry in a way that isn’t really sorry at all “I’m sorry you didn’t understand me” or “I’m sorry I’m late, your directions weren’t very good.”
What if you said “I apologize for being late, I didn’t plan well enough to be here on time” or “I apologize for not being clear with what I was saying”? This is a way to truly accept responsibility.
Asking for forgiveness is the real kicker here. It’s also the most likely to really catch people off guard. Asking for forgiveness is a way to repair a relationship, “I apologize for not being clear with what I was saying. Will you please forgive me?”
What’s the result if you do all of this? It’s a long list. But I’ll give you the highlights. The results are often increased integrity, better self-perception, and stronger relationships. But the real kicker, the real result, is that doing these things is the right thing to do. And you’ll never feel bad about doing the right thing.