The roots of trust are built in our childhood, where we learn to receive consistent, predictable care from our parents. Trust is built on order and predictability, which makes it even more psychologically traumatizing when that trust is broken. Studies have shown that psychological traumas (like discovering an affair) can have an effect on brain functioning long after the event has happened.
One of these common changes is the development of hyper-vigilance to prevent further assaults. Being hyper-vigilant is a survivor perspective, it protects us from harm.
These behaviors are commonly acted out by the partner who has been betrayed, by being looking for and being ultra aware of any change in behavior or pattern from their partner. Unfortunately, being hyper-vigilant is non discriminating. This puts us in a position to mistrust everyone around us- other family members, co-workers, spiritual leaders. This is harmful to our social connections- how can we prevent ourselves from mistrusting everyone around us after a betrayal?
It’s common knowledge that forgiveness is often the best policy, but when you’re in the throes of a painful experience in which someone you love has done something terrible, it’s usually the farthest from your mind. It’s hard to separate forgiveness from the feeling of granting permission for the offense, but forgiving can be the silver lining to your damaging encounter. Today we’re helping discern when it’s ok to move on and how to make it easier to do so.
Evaluate the Offense
Take a look at what actually happened. Identify if the offense is a sensible or legitimate reason to be upset. If your friend came to you with the same situation, would you encourage him or her to respond the same way you’ve responded? Is the offense reprehensible or are you overreacting to a current situation based on past, unrelated hurts? Sometimes learning when to forgive someone is easier when you’re able to look at the offense objectively. If it’s not as horrible as your initial reaction led you to believe, you can move toward forgiveness much easier.
Learn Your Lessons
Take stock of what’s happened and make a short list of the red flags you may have missed along the way. If you’re addressing an infidelity issue, reflect on the signals your partner may have sent to indicate a problem. Review what decisions you made along the way that positioned you where you are today. You can then make positive changes to your decision making moving forward. Knowing that you can learn and grow from a negative experience can help make your transition to forgiveness easier to do.
Forgiveness Is About You, Not Them
Believe it or not, the act of forgiving is more about you than it is the person who’s wronged you. We often assume that forgiving and unforgivable act lends permission to the act itself or somehow lets the offender off the hook for having committed it. But actually, forgiveness is about forgiving yourself from the burden of pain, anxiety or hurt the wrong has caused you. It’s about deciding not to be held emotionally captive to the pain of the act. You allow yourself to move past the pain and in some cases, away from the person altogether.
Keep your chin up. You may be in pain now, but the liberation of forgiveness is just around the corner. Take a look at how you can be objective, learn from mistakes and move forward. Remember, forgiveness more about freeing yourself turmoil and less about the offender or the act itself.
Admitting that you were wrong is one of the toughest challenges many of us face.
It can be especially difficult when facing someone that means a great deal to you. It is counter intuitive though when often ceding this bit of ego can often be the best remedy for a wrong. There are many psychological reasons for this behavior and it comes naturally to most of us. The confidence required is a learned trait and here are some of the ways that you can master it.
Taking a moment to own up to your mistake is the first and most important step but also probably the most challenging. Something to think about to make it a bit easier is the positive outcomes. There really are no mistakes in life, only opportunities to creatively solve problems and to learn. We all are all going to be wrong about something, but stopping and learning is a huge advantage. Take your wisdom with you to your next opportunity. The chance for reconciliation is the other positive. While there isn’t always room for reconciliation, it is almost impossible without admitting your fault in the first place. Focus on these positive consequences rather than the negatives and it becomes easier to face the music.
Remember Your Strength
There is always an easy way and a correct way and the correct way is always the better choice. Owning up to your wrongs is the correct way but this also gives you power over your wrongs. This requires strength and is a major self esteem booster. Many people struggle to access this strength but we all have it and in this process it is important to remember how you’ve set yourself apart. Confident people make confident decisions and people will recognize this and it is important that you do as well.
While it is true that you have very little control over the consequences you’ll face, you are able to control how you respond to them. By admitting you’re wrong, you are essentially putting the ball in someone else’s court. You are upholding your end of a trust bargain and they have to reconcile how they choose to respond. Once you’ve assumed this position, you can accept that you’ve done what you can. Putting yourself in a favorable position is always a good choice as well. For example, if it’s at work, being a good employee or coworker is a great way to have leeway to make mistakes.
Being wrong about something doesn’t make you as a person wrong. Low self-esteem will cause you to reinforce your beliefs about yourself which leads to guarding against being wrong, even to ourselves. There is always a chance to show your quality and remember, every human ever has made a mistake, so you’re not alone. You probably even have someone in your life who has wronged you that has remained in good standing despite their mistakes. If you’re capable of this empathy, other people are as well.
Making It Right
You can’t right every wrong in the eyes of another person, but you can always make it right with yourself. If you upset someone in the workplace, ask them what you can do to not make the same mistake in the future. Learn your boundaries with that person and respect them. If you gave a poor performance at something, be it a test or a work project or something else, either do better next time, or find a way to redo it and fix the mistakes. Don’t be afraid to ask someone how you can make it right either. In the end, finding peace with your wrongs is the best way to make it right for everyone involved, including yourself.
Admitting that we are wrong is a difficult lesson to learn. For some people, it comes a bit more naturally but all of us have to go through the process. Practice is the only way to get better so make sure to fit these tips into your routine and eventually you’ll reap the rewards of your efforts. You’ll see your relationships improve, better career performance and much higher self-esteem and there is very little that is more invaluable.