Friday, June 22, 2018

Three Powerful Words We Need to Use

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.” Are you free to make mistakes, or do you deny yourself that liberty?

Not everyone feels free to make mistakes. A funny story is told about General George Patton from his World War II days. He once accepted an invitation to dine at a press camp in Africa. Wine was served in canteen cups but, obviously thinking he was served coffee, Patton poured cream into his cup. As he stirred in sugar, Patton was warned that his cup contained red wine and not coffee.

General Patton, whatever his obvious strengths, could never, never be wrong. Without hesitating he replied, “I know. I like my wine this way.” And he drank it. 

Of course, none of us ever likes goofing up, and it isn’t easy to admit when we do happen to blunder. 

I believe that three of life’s most difficult words to say are I was wrong. And particularly in families and among good friends, these are three of the most powerful words we can utter. I was wrong breaks down barriers between people. It brings estranged people together. And it creates a climate where intimacy and love may flourish. You may be surprised at how positively many people respond to the words those simple words. They are words we need to use more often.

Naturally, it is a risk. But to admit when you are wrong is not to imply that you are a “bad” person. Simply an honest one. And true friends will appreciate you all the more for it.

Mahatma Gandhi gives us more help here. He says, “I claim to be a simple individual liable to err like any other fellow mortal. I own, however, that I have humility enough to confess my errors and to retrace my steps.”

Yes, it takes humility to admit fault. And maybe more to retrace your steps - to make it right. But people are happier when they use those three powerful words and allow themselves the occasional freedom to be wrong. It’s a gift they give themselves.

It is really okay to slip up, especially if we own up. 

-- Steve Goodier

Image: General George Patton, public domain

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