He whispers those three little words I love to hear. It was difficult at first, he was shy about it, but over time he became bolder and less afraid to share his innermost thoughts and feelings with me. And now I hear it more often, and I even say it to him as well. My favorite three little words to hear? “I was wrong.”
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So why is it so difficult to say those three little words? To me, it has to do with ego. It has to do with the desire to be right. It has to do with not wanting to appear like we don’t know what we’re talking about. In other words, it has to do with wanting to appear like an expert.
The little list of how to say “I was wrong”:
- Don’t be ashamed of those three little words.
- Say them willingly, lovingly, and confidently.
- The more you say those three little words, the easier it gets. Really.
- Laughter helps. If you can laugh at yourself, at your mistakes, that’s a very good start.
- Apologizing isn’t enough. Apologizing is a start, but actually saying “I was wrong” sometimes means more than an apology.
- In my Positive Psychology course, my teacher loves to say, “Learn to fail or fail to learn.” Learning to say, “I was wrong” is part of this process. It means you’re taking risks, trying new things… how can you possibly be consistently right with things you are just learning?
- Don’t be afraid. Feel the fear and do it anyway… this is the very definition of courage. In time, there will be less fear and more acceptance, more willingness to share.
- You don’t have to be right all the time. Mark used to say he would “rather be happy than right.” I, of course, would disagree with him (it’s what I do!). Now I agree with him. And you know what? I am happier… I was wrong.
(Abby took this photo of us while we were in Grenoble, February 2012)