As a parent, we face dilemmas on a daily basis. We may feel that we make numerous sacrifices for our children all the time but then there are occasions where we have to keep something for ourselves. This is something that everybody goes through. After all, we’re only human. But sometimes there can be moments when it feels right at the time and that you have to self preserve and this can result in us letting people down. And nothing smarts as much as when we let our family down. It might not be anything massively important from our perspective, perhaps we forgot to do something that we said we would. Or sometimes our reactions can disappoint our nearest and dearest even though we thought we were being protective. But what do we do in these situations where we have let someone down?

Recognize It

Usually, if others are responding to you indifferently it makes everything as clear as day. There can be times in our lives that we have let our anger override everything else. And it may have been justified at the time in our heads. Perhaps you wanted to protect your child from the outside world and you thought that being physically aggressive would have yielded the proper result. But the horrible thing in reacting like this is that you think that it comes from a “noble” place and that you wanted to do something that was in your power. But when it comes to physical aggression or that need for revenge it seldom does the situation any good. Because this is when the police and criminal defense lawyers may have to come into the situation but it can feel a million times worse when you realize that you’ve let the people you love down. And if you start to recognize that it happened, or at least figure it out, you’ve got the opportunity to start making things right.

Making Sure You Apologize

When we know that we have disappointed someone and once we have knowledge of what we did or didn’t do, this is when we have to look at how this impacted the other person. What we can tend to do at this point is to try to justify or excuse our behavior. But in doing this we end up trying to shift the blame somewhat. But even if you had a genuine reason to have done this in the first place, this is second fiddle to the fact that you’ve let someone down. When it’s your partner or your child you have to make sure you focus on them. And when we let a child down it can be so easy for us to justify that they aren’t old enough to comprehend something, this is irrelevant, but it is also a bad attitude. We can easily justify when our children are toddlers that we don’t have to draw attention to it, but we have got to remember that this sets the tone for the rest of our relationship with them. As soon as we start to keep the focus on our child and realize that we’ve let them down and everything else is irrelevant, we can apologize. But apologizing means that we need to say what we mean and mean what we say. Acknowledging what we’ve done wrong is crucial because it gives us the opportunity to really engage with our wrongdoings.

Learning To Make Amends

When we know we have done something wrong, our instinct is to do whatever we can to make it right. And while this can very well be the fact that we are doing our best to fix things we may believe that we’ve got to put a band-aid on the situation as soon as possible. Learning to make things right isn’t a quick fix. We can tend to overdo it or find ways to make things right that we have control over. For example we can buy gifts for the other person as a way to show them we are sorry. But is this really enough? It’s another way of placating people when we buy worldly goods. In one way it is showing them that we are just trying to cover things up. Learning to make amends is more about understanding what we’ve done wrong but learning from the person what we can do to make it right. Sometimes they don’t know what we can do which can feel particularly painful for us. But it could very well be the fact that they just want us to understand what we’ve done wrong. Making amends isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Learning to understand the error of our ways could be all that is needed. But we’ve also got to remember that making amends can take time.

Forgiving Ourselves

When we’ve understood what we’ve done wrong and apologized but also so worked our hardest to make amends we can still continue to feel really bad about what we’ve done. We may believe that we’ve got to punish ourselves in some way. But this isn’t productive. The goal is to learn from the experience. If you continue to beat yourself up because you think the person you’ve let down needs you to feel terrible this isn’t good for either party. It also says a lot about the other person. If we have learned from the experience we can get to the core of starting all over again. Sometimes it’s not something we can do in a literal sense. If we’ve tried to make amends for someone that’s not around anymore the one thing we can do is to make a commitment to ourselves to be better now and in the future. Forgiving ourselves can be incredibly difficult if we have done something that’s impacted so many people, especially the ones that we are closest to.

When we’ve let our family down it can hurt us as much as it hurts them. It may take some time to get back to the way things were but if you follow these four approaches you can begin to start all over again.

Greg Kononenko
Greg Kononenko

My name is Greg Kononenko and I am a full-time online blogger and owner of Dad's Hustle. I'm a dad, and my passion is to help other mums and dads to start their own "hustle" and improve the financial future of their families.

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