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What not to do when you’re wrong: 3 ways to handle not knowing it all

The world would be a better place if we’d admit what we didn’t know.

Since grade school, we’ve felt the pressure of answering questions correctly in front of the classroom, however, it seems as if a negative stigma of being wrong has followed most of us to adulthood — like being wrong is shamed upon.

The issue with society’s less than positive reception to incorrectness is that it encourages deceit and disallows space for learning and correction.

Because we’re apprehensive about coming off wrong and ashamed to show we’ve made a mistake, we’ve developed into individuals who cower in times of disappointment and who are embarrassed by failure.

Newsflash: You’re going to be wrong and you will never know everything. Life is a never-ending learning curve where in which our mandate is to be open to its changes. When you’re in opposition to not getting it right, it hinders that process.

Once it’s grasped that being right is not all that it’s made out to be and that being wrong is nothing more than an opportunity to grow, a lot more learning can take place.

Do not feel shame

You should never feel ashamed of what you don’t know, at what you thought you knew, or at what you wrongly predicted.

You are solely responsible for your missteps and as long as you reconcile any offenses along the way, how wrong you are or have been is no one’s business.

A lot of times the hardest part about being wrong or making mistakes isn’t the infraction itself as much as it is the opinions from the peanut gallery that follows.

When we allow outsiders to affect how we process our shortcomings it does nothing more than stunt the healing process. The first step to growth and improvement is accepting what happened, which is hard when other people are pointing fingers at what you’ve done.

MSNBC’s Joy Reid is a perfect example. After homophobic and transphobic posts appeared on her former blog went viral back in April, she was in a tough spot. Not only is she a talking head for a major network news program but she is one who often takes stand against the very speech her name was being attached to.

Although she claims she was hacked and even went as far as to hire cybersecurity experts to investigate, she still issued a lengthy apology saying on her MSNBC program,

“I genuinely believe I did not write those hateful things because they are completely alien to me. But I can definitely understand based on things I have tweeted and have written in the past why some people don’t believe me. The reality is, they have not been able to prove it. I cannot take any of that back. I can only say that the person I am now is not the person I was then. I like to think that I’ve gotten better over time, that I’m still growing.”

Even though she genuinely feels she didn’t do anything wrong, she didn’t fight it. She ignored the shame and stood there and took the heat. Had she not issued an apology, who knows if she would still have her job.

Don’t be ashamed of what you go through and at what trials you face, stand strong and come back harder.

Do not let tour mistakes own you

Something else to remember when we find ourselves on the wrong side of right is to not let our mistakes own us. Sometimes it’s outside voices but a lot of times it’s our own that makes our missteps a lot worse.

A mistake is a moment in time, not forever. It’s only when we dwell on what we did wrong and not allow ourselves to move on from it that it becomes larger than it has to be.

It’s important to remember that mistakes will happen; we’re human and perfection is a myth. We can’t allow mistakes to define us when they’re products of monetary weakness.

How Kevin Hart handled his affair last year is textbook to anyone who has been in the wrong. Although it was public and so messy to the point where he was getting extorted by his best friend, he never let it slow down his momentum or detract from his brand.

After issuing an apology to the fans he may have disappointed, he kept it moving and went about his life unchanged.

In a recent radio interview to promote his Irresponsible tour, Kevin was asked why he didn’t hide and lay low during the peak of the scandal. Kev’s response was perfect and should be a model for anyone who is and has ever been wrong in their life. He said,

“That’s the difference between me and, I think, everyone else. I’m not consumed by perception. It is what it is. I don’t live for what you think. I can’t control what you think.”

Your mistakes do not own you, so don’t let them.

Don’t let mistakes stop you from learning

The worst thing to do when you’re wrong is to let it keep yourself from learning.

A lot of times when we find ourselves utterly and completely wrong, we duck, hide and shut down. But this does nothing more than stunt growth. We cannot shy away once a mistake has been made, especially if it’s something that we fess up and own.

When we’re defensive, dismissive and full of ego, we miss the entire point of living.

We’re supposed to make mistakes; we’re not going to know everything and get everything right all the time. So why be ashamed or call it quits over on setback?

Once we’ve accepted that we are wrong, it’s then important to take the necessary steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again, not act like it never happened.

No one is perfect, and the moment we create an environment where imperfection isn’t ridiculed, a lot more of us will be willing to correct and be better going forward.