I’m not one to worry much about what other people think. Nonetheless, a week or so ago I found myself feeling unsettled. At first I could not figure out what had me feeling unsettled. After a little intrapsychic digging around, I found the culprit. I felt off kilter because of a mistake I made and I didn’t know the direct impact my mistake had on someone I care about, a client.

I sent her a bill that was way off. It wasn’t the mistake that had robbed me of my general peacefulness, it was no knowing if my mistake had damaged the relationship. Now for most people, that might not seem like much of a mistake. That’s my point, even the smallest of mistakes can crack the crucible of strong relationships. Moreover, if that crack goes unattended, it can widen. Soon, the equity you have built up in that relationship begins to seep out.

Once I discovered what inner trickster had run off with my contentment, the solution was pretty easy. Apologize. I owned up to the mistake and asked this dear person what, if any, damage was done to the relationship. Fortunately, no harm no foul. However, had I ignored my error and just tra-la-la-ed along, I think damage would have been done.

One of the things that sometimes keeps people from owning up to their errors is pride, another is that they don’t have a sense of the relationship equity built up. Just as you build up equity in your home and other resources by the contributions you make, you build up relationship equity with the generosity of spirit, honest and kindness we bring to your relationships. With shared intimacy, you build up relationship equity that you can dip into during those times of foibles.

Often people are far more forgiving then we suspect them to be for they too have made mistakes. However, I think you lose relationship equity when you make mistakes and are too prideful (insert fearful) to admit the mistake, ask for forgiveness and do what you can to mend the tear in the relationship. Relationships need and deserve tending. Sometimes this means mending a tear, sometimes it means expressing our appreciation of others. Sometimes it means sharing ourselves more fully.

How are you tending to your relationships? What’s it like for you when you make a relationship mistake?

Author's Bio: 

Melanie McGhee, L.C.S.W. has more than 25 years experience helping people cultivating meaningful and satisfying relationships. Melanie's clients learn to use relationships wisely - as a spiritual practice for spiritual growth. She is also the award-winning author of "An Illumined Life." You can reach her by calling 865-384-4104 or visiting her website, http://www.peacefruit.com