Do you have a hard time owning up to your mistakes? I think I am probably one of the worst culprits of this in the worst way. It’s not that I mind saying I made a mistake, but rather, I would like to think I did at least something right in the awkward situation. So instead of saying, “I’m sorry, I screwed up,” I say, “I’m sorry I did this, but … ” and trail into some kind of defense. It’s embarrassing to admit I completely screwed up.

While I don’t think I’m alone (and I’d love to hear from you if you have a similar problem), I know that I do it in my marriage, in my friendships, in my family relationships, at work, at the store, with this blog. Instead of saying I’m sorry for a mistake and just leaving it at that, I always have an excuse. Something to back myself up so I don’t look so bad. Laughing off my mistake with a full-blown cop-out.

It’s one of those things I feel is so ingrained in our culture and minds — that we don’t have to admit being wrong, we’re just ADD or so busy or not really into that. We don’t bother to work out what we are lacking in, we just make an excuse. If we are not good at something or make a mistake, we chalk it up to: “That’s boring,” or, “I don’t have time,” or, “I’m sorry. But you didn’t do such and such.” The same goes for almost everything: school, our jobs, networking, reading our Bibles, getting involved in ministries. You name it and if we don’t like it or think we might fail or have failed, we have an excuse — somewhere else to place the blame.

But what if we just owned up to the fact that 1.) We may not be good at something and we may have screwed up 2.) We could have done better, and 3.) If we were honest, we would say: “I just don’t want to.” “I’m afraid of screwing up.” “I’m sorry. I promise to work on that.”

I am not good at making time to talk on the phone (my friends will attest). Some of my relationships have suffered because I didn’t make the time. They feel unloved and like our friendship isn’t important. What’s my ownership? I could definitely be better at it. But, honestly, it’s really really difficult to fit into my schedule. I am good at Facebook message conversations, texting and Skyping. What can be the happy medium here?

Normally, I would just say, “I’m sorry I missed our call, I just had to work late and then traffic was awful, and by the end of the day I was just too tired to think!” Is all of that true? Yes! But what’s the real point and what could I have done differently to make things less about me and more about making things right?

How about a little humility? A little being honest, but also making an effort to realize that your mistake has consequences and you recognize the need to make up for that?

I don’t want this to sound like I’m putting pressure on myself to be perfect or that there shouldn’t be grace involved from the other party. Both are false. Grace should always be given and I think it creates more pressure to be perfect when we feel as though we have to have an excuse instead of just realizing, hey, we aren’t perfect, all I can say is I’m sorry and try to find a new way to do things.

So I don’t know if you are a people-pleasing, not-owning-up-to-your-mistakes perfectionist like me, but if you are, what are some of the ways you combat it? How do you actively take steps to practice humility, realizing you aren’t perfect without letting it eat at you like a stomach ache?

I would love to know some ways that you practice genuine honesty lovingly and not excuse-driven cop-outs!

— Whitney



Mistakes and the blame game

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