Would you like to strengthen your relationships at work? Would you like to strengthen your marriage? I have a few key concepts and phrases to share with you of which can do just that.
At my church we like to say, “No perfect people allowed.” If we know that nobody is perfect (except Christ), why is it that we act as if we’re perfect? Why is it so stinking hard to admit when we’re wrong?
I would venture to guess it’s due to pride. Most people struggle with pride at some point in their lives. Sometimes we don’t want to give our spouse the satisfaction of hearing they were right and we were wrong. Pride.
Sometimes at work, we act like we have it all together and we are incapable of making an error. God help us. Some pastors are the worst at this – they steamroll over their staff and volunteers and act like they are always without fault.
The reality is you’re not fooling anybody; you’re just upsetting a lot of people and ruining relationships. When you don’t own up to a mistake, a loss of temper, a bad email, a smart remark, etc., you damage the relationship and over time this damage becomes irreparable.
You’re not Superman or Superwoman. You are not invincible. You are not perfect. You make mistakes. You’re a sinner saved by grace – never forget that! You need grace and mercy. Your employees, employer, and spouse need grace and mercy. Make sense? I thought so.
So, quickly, let me suggest how you can repair your marriage, win friends, and increase your stock at work. Here are seven phrases that can save you:
1 and 2: “I’m sorry.” and “I apologize.”
Use whichever you feel seems most authentic and sounds like yourself. For me, I prefer, “I apologize.” I just said that to someone today and it saved a relationship. It’s freeing. It’s therapeutic. It’s the Christ-like and right thing to do. When you hurt someone, apologize. Word of advice, speak from the heart and face to face. Let them hear the tone of your voice and see the sincerity in your eyes.
- “My bad.”
If you spout out some answer that you really haven’t thought through all the way and you suddenly realize you’re way off, just say, “My bad.” Own up to it. Note: “My bad” is good for casual, informal and small offenses. Don’t make a big mistake and try to say, “My bad.” Not smart. Use this phrase sparingly. Also note: This phrase can be abused and come to mean nothing if you really offend someone and try saying, “My bad.” Watch out!
- “I messed up.”
If you make a mistake and it comes to your attention, be quick to say, “I messed up.” When you take ownership of your mistakes, you take the venom out of your attacker’s darts.
- “I blew it.”
If you really mess up and you may get in serious trouble, the worst thing you can do is deny it. That will get you fired or divorced. If you blew it, say, “I blew it.” And I’d follow that up with an apology from the heart. Repentance is attractive. It’s hard to stay mad at someone that genuinely repents and asks for forgiveness.
- “I was wrong.”
Remember, you’re not always 100% right. When you’re not, say, “I was wrong.” And for added benefit on your part, add “And you were right.” I’m not talking about manipulating people here. I’m talking about being real, genuine, and authentic. This is a character issue, friends.
- “Please forgive me.”
Lastly, always ask for forgiveness when appropriate. If you accidentally spill coffee on someone’s shoe, you don’t need to beg for forgiveness. However, you also don’t need to ignore it or say, “Hey, watch where you’re going.” Or “That was your fault.” Those were free tips.
When you have hurt someone and they are feeling seriously wronged by you, it is entirely appropriate to ask for forgiveness. Again, you are not to manipulate people. If they don’t forgive, move on – you’ve done your part. If they forgive you, graciously receive it and then move forward in your relationship.
One final piece of advice (and I’m talking to myself here): You don’t outgrow these phrases. This is how to live as a person of integrity and character. If you were 99 years old, I’d still share this article with you. These are habits to carry on for life. God bless you as you grow in grace.
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” – Romans 12:18 (NIV)