Admitting You Were Wrong is Hard
But nobody needs to know what name you mark off at the ballot box
Admitting fault is a deeply challenging human experience, especially when our choices have led to immeasurable harm or pain to others. The big mistakes.
Being honest is the first and most difficult step to acknowledging those big mistakes, and honesty requires challenging world views that we have committed to and that have perhaps even come to define us. For some, the process of owning up to the truth is embarrassing and shameful as it poses a threat to our sense of self and challenges our character or beliefs.
According to Dr. Kate Kaplan, a clinical psychologist, some people instead resort to a process known as cognitive dissonance, a subconscious defense mechanism meant to protect our ego whereby we over-compensate by “denying fault and refusing ownership” of our own mistakes.
Was everything I understood to be true a lie? How much have I lost and how many people have been hurt because of my mistakes?
Will We Learn From Our Mistakes?
More than 57 million people have already voted in the 2020 U.S. presidential election according to the US Elections Project, evidence that this will be a historic election with a record-breaking voter turnout.
Will the nation re-elect the most divisive president in American history, a pathological liar who has failed to respond to the worst public health crisis in a century and presided over the loss of 223,000 American lives?
Will the nation re-elect a man who has implemented inhumane immigration policies, mocked our military veterans, sexually assaulted 19 women, owes hundreds of millions of dollars to foreign banks, and pays more taxes to foreign governments than he does to the United States?
Will the nation re-elect a man who has failed to condemn, and in fact encouraged, white supremacy, tear-gassed peaceful protestors for a photo-op, and used the presidency to rake in $1.9 billion in profits?
Will the nation re-elect Donald Trump?
Electing Donald Trump was an unequivocal mistake. Whether you stayed home or voted third-party on Election Day because you disliked his opponent, or you voted for him because you earnestly believed that he would “drain the swamp,” this election is a moment of personal reckoning. A chance to make it right.
At a recent Trump rally, a supporter of the President was seen sporting a T-shirt that read “my son died from COVID-19, and I’m still voting for Trump!”
This man has suffered an unimaginable loss. Acknowledging that his own choices may have contributed to the devastating loss of his child, or to consider the trajectory of events had Trump not been elected is likely an unbearably painful prospect.
Many voters will vote for Trump, or stay home, or vote third-party, despite what they know and see to be true with their own eyes. Despite their own loss. Despite their own pain. The alternative requires a reckoning that is just too painful. It requires facing a reality that may cause pain, guilt, or shame.
But being honest with yourself is the beginning of that process. That’s when healing starts. That’s when forgiveness starts.
Nobody needs to know whose name you mark off at the ballot box in this election. The only person that needs to know is you.