We have all been there. We do our very best and sometimes we only make things worse. While it’s bad enough that we messed up, it really hurts when we let others down that were depending on us. But the real damage comes from letting ourselves down. This is why learning to redeem yourself is such an important life skill.
The reason why letting ourselves down is so damaging is because it causes us to question every future move we make. Every option that we consider about anything in our minds receives enormous scrutiny. And when we do this, we are not putting our best foot forward.
So let’s start learning to redeem yourself by examining some basic steps we can take.
How to Redeem Yourself
Learning to redeem yourself can be a lengthy process that depends on your personal history with the issue at hand and the people involved. But when you say to yourself, “I must redeem myself,” then you should be prepared to do what it takes.
There are three major steps required to redeem oneself. Let us take a look at them.
1) Correct your wrongdoing
Figure Out Exactly What You Did Wrong – You need to take a deep breath and calm yourself first. Now start reviewing the steps you took leading up to your mistake. Determine what went wrong and rationalize the process. Now you will need to identify what you should have done instead.
Learning how to redeem yourself will help prevent you from making the same mistake again in the future. You need to understand that there is a very fine line between identifying the reason for the mistake and making excuses. Never get in the habit of making excuses. It will destroy your credibility in the eyes of others.
Acknowledge Your Mistake Before Others Find Out – This may not always be possible, but if you can, you should own to your mistake before it is discovered. However, make sure that you have performed the previous step so that you can tell them why it happened and what you will do to prevent a recurrence.
While making excuses will hurt your credibility, acknowledging your wrongdoing will enhance your credibility, but this may take time. Initially, you may encounter anger and a negative response. Try not to take this personally because it is your actions that they are upset about.
Let Those Affected Express Their Feelings – Others will need to express to you fully about how they were damaged by your mistake. Two things are critical at this point: a) listen to everything that has to say, and b) take full responsibility for the outcome.
You must realize that everyone affected needs to express their feelings. This is how we are able to move past our mistakes and really learn from them. But the good thing here is that your relationships will grow stronger in the long run if you do it right.
Understand Any Ramifications – You must realize that it may take some time before the reactions from your mistake go away. Understand that you may have to rebuild some trust with those who were most affected by your screw-up.
Do not let this discourage you, instead be compassionate to those who were affected. Let them know in subtle ways that you are fully aware of letting them down. Be very patient.
Don’t be afraid of hard questions – You must understand that the person affected by your wrongdoing is going to ask lots of questions regarding your actions. Most likely, they’ll want to know details, such as what you were thinking and why you did such a thing.
Do not shy away from or diminish these questions because doing so will likely enflame their anger toward you. Instead, focus on answering these hard questions honestly without blaming others.
Commit yourself to permanently correcting this problem – Most of the determination to change or correct your mistake will need to remain inside you. When it comes to correcting errors, actions say much more than words ever do. This is especially true with repeated offenses.
Adopt the rule of letting your actions speak louder than words when it comes to redeeming yourself. Promises tend to annoy people when they’ve been wronged.
Take full responsibility for your actions – Resist the temptation to give excuses or justify why you did something. Attempts like this will only tarnish your reputation and credibility more than it already is. The first step to regaining your character and accountability is simple acknowledgment.
Remember this, there are always reasons or certain events that contributed to your bad decision or mistake, but learning to redeem yourself fully is about owning up to your blunder – without excuses.
Remember all required apologies – In the end, there are two sets of apologies that will be required. The first are those you owe to the people who were affected by your mistake. The second is the one you owe yourself. Never fail to apologize because people will remember if you didn’t and this will impair your relationship(s) with them.
On the other hand, do not overdo it with apologies. Give a sincere apology and then move past the incident. Do not get in the habit of apologizing every time the incident is brought up – it is not required, even though there may be some people who feel otherwise – understand that these people do not really care about you.
Apology requirements – People often say that apologies must have three ingredients. Those are regret, accountability, and solution. Regret means that you are empathetic to those who’ve been wronged and acknowledge that your actions were hurtful. Accountability means that you own the mistake and that it’s your responsibility to correct it and make amends. And of course, the solution is the corrective action you will take to prevent a future occurrence.
Apologies that have these three ingredients demonstrate goodwill to the people receiving them, and it’s an important part of learning to redeem yourself.
Sincerity – You must be sincere when you are delivering your apology. Otherwise, it is pretty much worthless. Forced apologies that are done out of social convention actually make things worse.
Being sincere means that you are empathetic and have tried to understand how the other person must feel. It means that you have taken the time to put yourself in their shoes and imagine how they must be feeling – and you’re verbalizing that out loud. Granted, you might miss the mark as to how they feel, but attempting to do so is a sincere act on your part.
Plan your apology in advance – This may sound contrived and phony, but this is not the case. Planning your apology is the best way to address everything that needs to be addressed. It is actually the opposite of being phony, it means you care about fixing the situation and mending the relationship with those who were affected by your mistake.
Planning your apology not only involves the preparation of what you need to say and address, you also need to anticipate what their concerns are going to be. And you should be ready to address those concerns. Most likely, they are going to bring something you haven’t considered, so be prepared for that as well.
Listen intently and actively when they respond to your apology – This is one of those times when you must be as good of a listener as you can possibly be. Minimize distractions and let them verbalize their feelings to you. Their feedback is a crucial component of correcting your mistake.
Be aware of your own body language as they speak. Do not close yourself to them by crossing your arms and legs or staring off into space. This is one of those occasions when you will want to build and reinforce as much rapport as possible with them.
This is a good chance that the other person is going to be very upset and angry with you. Allow them to express their anger and avoid trying to defend themselves. Do not forget that your actions have hurt them in some way.
Finally, you must fully understand what they’ve told you. Repeat back to them to verify what you’ve heard. This not only verifies the information but also shows them that you were sincerely listening.
3) Learn from your mistake
Open up to some new ideas – It’s common for individuals to be unable to consider different viewpoints or ideas when they’ve gained experience at something or have had time to form a firm opinion about anything.
This conduct can make you seem resistant to listening or that you’re always correct. Allow yourself to consider other alternatives and opinions, and don’t assume you’re always right.
This is especially vital if you’ve harmed someone. When you wronged them, your initial concept was that your viewpoint was correct, or that you were doing it for the right causes. Take a minute to evaluate the viewpoints you did not consider previously and reconsider your own position.
Be compassionate to yourself – Take time to consider how valuable you are. Recognize that you are entitled to respect and compassion. Stop condemning yourself for past mistakes as soon as possible. Show yourself the same amount of empathy that you would offer someone else.
Write yourself a note of self-compassion. Pretend you’re someone else and write yourself a letter, giving advice and showing compassion. Put down any negative thoughts or remarks you may be having or thinking. Read them over carefully to see if you’d actually say such things to a pal.
Do let your fears overcome you – When we were children, we frequently avoided doing things since we were concerned about the consequences. Unfortunately, this behavior continues into adulthood, preventing us from engaging in activities that might be beneficial to us. Don’t let fear of what may happen to prevent you from trying something new when you’re thinking about doing it.
Alternatively, you may be afraid of attempting it again because you had a bad experience previously. Perhaps you had a vehicle accident when you were learning to drive, so you never bothered to get your driver’s license. Don’t allow one blunder in the past to ruin your life in the future.
If you’ve hurt someone, you may be hesitant to put yourself in a similar scenario in the future for fear that you’ll make the same mistake. Recognize that you now understand why you did something wrong and can concentrate on not doing it again; instead of avoiding the situation, all you have to do is avoid making the same mistake.
Be true to yourself – Shame is a very complex emotion that can be caused by a variety of factors, including our pasts and the teachings we received at school and at home.
The majority of the things that cause us to feel ashamed were acquired unconsciously as children, and as adults, we continue to feel shame about them because we haven’t been able to accept who we truly
The real you is who you want to be for your own personal reasons. It’s not the self that your parents or instructors wanted you to be for theirs.
It’s not only liberating, but it can also help you form strong relationships with others. You may feel more at ease around these individuals because you know they trust you and that they won’t criticize you.
Don’t be afraid to face reality – Reality might be inconvenient, difficult, or painful. It’s all too easy to pretend these facts don’t exist as a result of these annoyances and difficulties.
However, it can be hazardous to deny the existence of these truths. Take advantage of this opportunity to face your problems and you’ll most likely feel freer, more refreshed, and more energetic
The fact is that you hurt someone. This reality will be difficult to acknowledge and accept, but it is necessary in order to heal and move on from the pain.
Hopefully, these steps in learning to redeem yourself have been helpful. As with everything in life, they are more effective when you can apply your own brand of sincerity through your own personality. This is certainly plenty of leeway for this approach.