All along, Edgar Lungu and his minions have been denying their role in the political violence that today has become the hallmark of Zambia’s politics. Why did they have trouble accepting their role in this political violence? What has changed for Edgar to accept the role of his party in this violence? There’s no doubt that Edgar leads the most violent and lawless political party in the entire history of this country.
Today, Patriotic Front cadres are untouchable. The police can’t do anything about their violence, lawlessness. And Edgar knows this very well. He is actually the source of this violence and lawlessness. If he wasn’t, this violence would have ended a long time ago. Edgar is today admitting this violence simply because it can no longer be concealed; it’s open for all to see.
It can be very challenging to accept that we’ve made mistakes, we are responsible for crimes, especially if we’re coming from a self righteouness or exaltation background. Making mistakes is inevitable and part of being human. It’s also a valuable source of instruction and will enrich our lives. It can teach us to try new things and expand our horizons. It’s very important to acknowledge our slip-ups and move on.
Sometimes, mistakes are not caused by an effort on our part, but the lack of it. We can’t exert maximum effort every single day in every element of our lives. Mistakes aren’t always the result of some effort we’ve made. Sometimes, we can make a mistake by not doing something, too. Laws generally distinguish between commission – doing something that shouldn’t have been done – and omission – not doing something that should have been done, with commission usually being seen as more severe. Errors of omission are usually more common than errors of commission.
Errors of omission can still have an effect on our lives, however. It’s important to acknowledge both types of mistakes, because we can learn from both of them. Some people try to avoid errors of commission by doing as little as possible and taking no responsibility, but this doesn’t keep them from errors of omission, and it’s also not a very helpful way to live or grow.
It’s important to know the difference between mistakes and bad decisions. Mistakes are simple errors. Bad decisions are more intentional. Mistakes are understandable and may require less focus on correcting. We should accept bad decisions just like mistakes, but it pays to pay more attention to them. We live in a society that’s afraid of accepting mistakes. So if we have a hard time accepting our mistakes at first, let’s go easy on ourselves, because it’s not all our fault.
Mistakes can help us learn, but only if we make sure they are corrected. There’s no shame in asking for help with something we haven’t gotten the hang of yet. Putting our ego aside and learning from someone who has more experience than us is a great way to improve, especially if we find ourselves in a rut and don’t know how to proceed. We’re told not to make excuses for our mistakes, but that’s different from knowing about the reasons for our mistakes. Searching for the reasons behind our mistakes can help us do better in the future, because it will show us where we went wrong.
It’s not easy to accept blame for mistakes or transgressions. But striving to take responsibility for our lives and ownership of our mistakes is incredibly worthwhile for many reasons. It allows us to make better decisions. Self-justifications distort reality. The more we use them, the more we create an alternative universe for ourselves. This leads to a decreased ability to make good choices, as the information we’re using to do so is warped. This can keep us from the people and pursuits that could have been good for us – if only we had been able to see them clearly for what they were. For example, that critic who was “out to get you” might have become an incredible builder, if you had seen his criticism as a desire to help, rather than an attack.
Most dangerously, one self-justification begets another, setting off a domino effect that sends us more and more off track. Once we justify one decision, we’re deeper into it. If we can own up to a mistake as soon as we make it and do our best to correct it or make it right, we can prevent it from turning into a huge problem that’s going to be difficult to solve. A snowballed mistake may torpedo various aspects of our lives before we can get ourselves out from under it.
Simple — we can’t learn from our mistakes if we can’t acknowledge we’ve made them! And if we don’t learn from our mistakes, we’re destined to repeat them. And that’s a recipe for quickly going nowhere in life. We often hide our mistakes from other people because we worry they will think less of us once they’ve seen that we’ve messed up. But, frankly acknowledging our mistakes, apologising for them, and then earnestly working to make things right almost always has the opposite effect – people respect us for it. There might still be consequences, of course, but people will appreciate our honesty. If they use our confession as a way to belittle and use us, those are probably not the kind of people we want to work and live with anyway. It’s actually when we hide our mistakes, and they’re found out anyway, that people lose their respect and their trust in us.