see the error of (one's) ways

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see the error of (one's) ways

To realize that one has been wrong and/or has behaved poorly. I'm afraid it took me too long to see the error of my ways. But it's not too late for you. He'll never see the error of his ways if he keeps being rewarded for the bad decisions he's made.
See also: error, of, see, way

see the error of your ways

COMMON If you see the error of your ways, you realise that you have behaved badly and start to understand how you can do better. I wanted an opportunity to talk some sense into him and try to make him see the error of his ways. Note: You can also say that you realise the error of your ways. It took him a long time, he says, to realise the error of his ways. Note: You can also point out or show someone the error of their ways. He only responded when his players pointed out the error of his ways. But I firmly believe that many of these conservatives can be shown the error of their ways.
See also: error, of, see, way
References in periodicals archive ?
IF life was like a Richard Curtis movie, then Hugh Grant would be seeing the error of his ways round about now - abandoning whatever hot young beauty he is dating to run to the side of the mother of his baby to beg for forgiveness.
Finally seeing the error of his ways, Steve heads to the caff with a bunch of flowers intent on proving his love for Becky.
The film is typical rom-com fare aimed squarely at the ladies who love a nice heartwarmer with a playboy seeing the error of his ways.
Barrymore certainly puts his heart into portraying the pompous miser, who is haunted into seeing the error of his ways.
He first opposed the idea of giving Congress the power to impeach the president, and later -- seeing the error of his ways -- actively sought inclusion of this congressional check on the president.
For instance, Derek, who has been sentenced to prison for purposely killing two African-Americans after they tried to steal his car, has a conversion, seeing the error of his ways toward the film's end.