Admitting Mistakes…

W000795[1]Why do people find it so difficult to admit mistakes?  The story of Joe Wilson provides a sharp focus for this very serious question.  Wilson did admit that he should not have interrupted Obama during his address to Congress last week, but insists his assertion that the president mis-stated facts about the medical treatment of illegal immigrants is true.  A non-admission admission, anyone?

Dale Carnegie knew the value of promptly admitting mistakes.  The fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous from their beginnings knew about the power of “promptly admitting one’s mistakes”.  Has admitting wrong-doing become a lost social skill?

Does anyone not recognize that failing to admit mistakes is the pathway to looking foolish and dishonorable? 

This website summarizes the method of admitting mistakes – it should not be needed, but maybe it is…


Filed under Ethics, Life Lessons

21 responses to “Admitting Mistakes…

  1. I was talking with a group this weekend where a person stated that showing an open hand, and looking apologetic when one makes a mistake while driving, immediately defuses tension. I suspect we have all noticed that.

    Arthur Freeman, EdD, a noted cognitive psychotherapist, identifies “having to be right” as a troubling cognitive distortion.

    • lilacluvr

      Remember in 1994 when the Conservative Republicans swooped into power? Their mantra was to never compromise. They were always right because they were the ‘chosen ones’ by God.

      Can anyone say C-Street Christian Mafia?

  2. I think the first step is recognizing you’ve made a mistake.

    Truth, as defined by extremists is not based in fact, but based in what you desire the facts to be. The more fervently you desire something to be factual, the more the opposite is false – evidence to the contrary be damned.

    Still haven’t seen anyone show me where the President was lying.

  3. Omawarisan,

    What you describe seems to me to fall into the category of psychopathology. I find that troublesome, but I can’t refute it.

    I don’t think the president was lying, either.

    The truth is – if someone shows up in an Emergency Room and has a medically treatable condition, and if that condition were to go untreated the person’s health would then be compromised, that person is going to be treated, regardless of ability to pay, citizenship, country of origin, etc., etc. I think that is the way most people would want it.

    We would have to change a lot of regulations, ethic requirements, etc. if we are going to insist that some type of citizenship biopsy is done before ER care is provided. I don’t see that happening any time soon.

  4. lilacluvr

    I see a problem in Republicans wanting proof of citizenship before health care is given.

    Do you think white Republicans would stand for being questioned about THEIR citizenship?

    So, in reality, what they are wanting is for racial profiling to be done and anyone who does not look like a ‘real’ American is asked to for proof?

    I don’t know about you, but I would not want to live in that type of America.

  5. I can’t see how anyone would want to live in a country like that. Can that really be someone’s expectation? That is so 19th century.

    I know conservatives are supposed to want to preserve the good things of the past, but racism was a good thing?

    • lilacluvr

      If conservatives really want to preserve the good things of the past – then they would want to restore single party health care insurance – wouldn’t they?

      But then, where would those obscene profits come from?

      And, sorry to say, racism is alive and well. I don’t think is a coincidence that the Republican base has been narrowed to the Southern states. The more narrowing of their base, the more the ugly head of racism pops up.

  6. lilacluvr

    This is not about apologizing, per se, but it was something I just thought about.

    These Conservative Republicans are all supposed to be so religious but yet they find it so difficult to apologize for being wrong. They see apologizing as a weakness.

    Wasn’t it Jesus that washed the feet of his disciples? The washing of one’s feet was a sign of respect – wasn’t it? The desire to be of service to your fellow man?

    If these so-called religious Republicans cannot even apologize when they are wrong, how could they ever hope to live like Jesus did and be willling to wash another one’s feet?

    So, are these people just hypocrits, they don’t know any better or are they just using their God to further their own personal agendas?

    Or all of the above?

    • It seems to me that forgiveness is a powerful part of Christianity. Forgiveness is a beneficial for the forgiver and the forgiven, psychologically. Being against this is troubling to me.

      I have always been irritated by racists casting things like affirmative action as reverse discrimination. It is interesting as the Supreme Court has been loaded with conservatives, they have been more willing to consider “reverse descrimination” arguments and have increasingly interpreted the law to include these arguments.

      Again, I think ideologes of this variety are increasingly out of step with the majority of this country.

      • But I have been accused of being hopelessly idealistic, too.

      • 6176746f6c6c65

        Iggy, it is not difficult to make the argument that AA is “reverse discrimination” without straining oneself. If one merely considers using a “suspect classification” as the foundation for the AA program, facially the program is discriminatory in aa prohibited manner.

        That’s why the argument is so popular; if one cannot discriminate in employment, e.g., decisions based upon the race of a minority applicant, then race should be no factor in any event, which, admittedly, finds support in the clear language of various Civil Rights acts, as well as in the plain verbiage of the Fourteenth Amendment. Thus, “reverse discrimination” litigation has a certain easy appeal to those who feel injured by actions taken in the name of affirmative action.

        While I do not like the current attitude of the SCOTUS majority, it is supported textually. That’s not to say it is correct morally, ethically, etc.; just that there is clear support contained in the various statutes, etc.

      • 6176746f6c6c65

        Of course, one way to avoid this result would be to specifically exempt actions taken under an AA plan from the reach of such statutes. This would guarantee nothing would ever be enacted. Any attempt to enumerate programs would lead us to a place worse than where we are now; constant litigation over “that plan is not one specifically set forth in the statute, thus…..” would rule the day.

        Time and space concerns preclude me from a more robust exposition of my thoughts, but a reminder; economic status is not a “suspect classification”, thus “set aside” programs targeting low income employers rather than minority owned businesses, e.g., might well have a similar effect as those complained of; I’m sure the reader can envision other models.

  7. lilacluvr

    Iggy – if Conservative Republicans would take a good look at the Supreme Court and the Republicans’ years of power – they would also ask themselves why no Republican ever tried once to overturn Roe vs Wade. Yet, they don’t ever ask that question.

    Could it be because the Republicans need abortion as a wedge issue to keep all the voters in their fold?

    Same goes for racism – and in conjunction with racism – we have the discrimination against homosexuals. These are all the wedge issues that keep Conservative Republicans feeding at the trough of those GOP leaders in elected office.

    And from the current crop of so-called GOP leaders who are all making fools of themselves by spreading the lies about health care and calling Obama a liar during his speech to the joint Congress, can we expect any of these immature spoiled brats to be mature enough to know that their divisive political point making is destroying the country?

    I’m not holding my breath for any of them to simply ‘grow up’.

  8. “Could it be because the Republicans need abortion as a wedge issue to keep all the voters in their fold?”

    I’ve seen this argued often. I had never heard of this until I saw it mentioned on the other blog back when liberals were more likely to post there.

  9. wicked

    What is rather silly is that it isn’t all the difficult or at all painful (except to the psyche?) to admit being wrong or making a mistake. Hey, I do it all the time! 😉

    The person who can apologize and admit wrong doing or wrong thinking is the bigger man (or woman), as far as I’m concerned. I am beginning to think it’s a conservative trait. I don’t ever remember my Republican ex-spouse admitting he was wrong…even when he KNEW he was wrong. I tried teaching by example– -LOTS of examples. Didn’t work.

    Admitting a mistake is a tool for growing, not only as a person (morally), but intellectually, as well. Once knowing we’re wrong, we seek out the truth. The real truth, not Rush’s version of it. 😉

  10. 6176746f6c6c65

    This seeking out the truth requires a certain intellectual curiosity to exist, rather than concrete between the ears….

    • wicked

      Let’s see… I’ve always been curious, but not so sure about the intellect. Still, apologizing hasn’t killed me yet. There are many other things that have caused me a lot more pain, such as falling down a loooong flight of stairs in the English building in college while a group of boys looked on, after already falling down 3 steps in the dorm. Not only was I physically injured, my pride took a real beating…and in a mini-skirt, no less.

  11. prairiepond

    The inability to admit mistakes and to say one was wrong in the past is exactly why I think the struggle for legal gay marriage will be long and difficult.

    So many people were duped by their religious and political leaders… and now they are ashamed to admit it.

    They’ll never vote to overturn constitutional bans because that would mean they were wrong when they voted for it in the first place.

    The mossbacks will have to DIE before those bans will be overturned.

    And unfortunately, I’m of the same generation as most of the mossbacks. That’s why I dont think I’ll ever live to see it.

  12. prairiepond

    I’m thinking liberals sometimes suffer from the same disease.

    It’s why people will continue to support obama looong after it becomes clear that he’s just more of the same.

    I’m just not feelin’ the change. Or the hope.