“I’m sorry, I was wrong!”

Last year during Ramadan, we went to African Lion Safari and while walking to the car to head back home, my six-year-old cousin accidentally stepped on my abaya causing me to stumble. Now, that’s my biggest pet peeve! You can do almost anything to me except step on my abaya; it just annoys the life out of me.

But khair, she apologized and I told her it was okay especially since she was holding my hand and it was bound to happen. And then she thought it would be funny if she purposely stepped on it. After her many failed attempts, I was starting to get really annoyed. She finally succeeded though, again causing me to stumble. Now, this absolutely ticked me off.

I had way too much of the kids, of the heat, my feet hurting, extremely thirsty and hungry and I just wanted to go home. So, with a really angry face and a loud voice, I told her to let go of my hand and walk far away from me. This obviously made her really upset as she was walking slowly behind me with her head down with a really sulked-up face. I felt bad for being rude to her, so I turned around, gave her a hug and apologized and told her I was really sorry for yelling at her and shouldn’t have done so.

You’d think this kid would say, “It’s okay,” but instead, she started yelling and hitting me! Before my apology, she totally 100% felt it was her fault but after I apologized she automatically placed all of the blame on me. Had I not apologized to her, she would have eventually sucked up to me but because I said I was wrong and apologized, I received a completely different reaction from her.

I’m sure if she were an adult, I would’ve got a very similar response but delivered in a more adult fashion. Truth is 99% of people can’t handle, “I’m sorry, I was wrong!” appropriately. They become arrogant upon hearing that and automatically assume that everything was your fault. So, it’s not that the person who makes the mistake has an ego issue or is arrogant and can’t admit their mistake and apologize. Truth is: admitting you’re wrong and saying sorry is extremely easy. The problem is with the receiving end, they have the ego issue. If upon apologizing we didn’t hear, “I told you so,” and on and on about how we were so wrong, we would apologize and admit we were wrong more often and thus lead to better relationships. So, next time you think someone is too arrogant for not admitting they are wrong, think again! The problem maybe just in us: if we have a consistent habit of not receiving apologies well, then no one is going to admit to us that they were wrong. The ego problem is most likely in us and not in them.

It’s so simple: just look them in the eye and say, “It’s completely fine, we all make mistakes!” instead of, “I told you so!” and you’d be surprised how many times people apologize to you when they harm you!


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