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Michelle Gottlieb Psy.D., MFT, LPCC
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How Strong Are You?

September 2002


Have you ever had the experience of confronting someone with a mistake that they have made and that person immediately gets defensive? Many people have a difficult time admitting when they are wrong or when they do not know something. There could be many reasons for this, but probably the bottom line for many of these reasons is that people feel diminished.


People feel that if they are caught in a mistake or not knowing something, then they appear to be “less than” the other person with whom they are in a relationship. Somehow their partner has “won”. This can be a business relationship, professional relationship or personal one.


I think one of the strongest things that you can say is, “I don’t know the answer to that, but let me look it up and I will get back to you.” That takes much more strength than a flip remark, an avoidance, or worse still, a lie. I think it takes even more strength to say, “I made a mistake. I am sorry if I hurt you. How can I make amends?” I feel only the truly strong people can do that.


So stop for a minute and evaluate your strengths. See if you are strong enough to apologize for any wrongs that you have committed. See if you can admit to your own ignorance. See how strong you really are.


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