The world was shocked when Arnold Schwarzenegger’s cheating scandal was revealed but what happened in the aftermath? The legendary strong man has much to teach about accountability and rectifying one’s mistakes.

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LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 16: (L-R) Joseph Baena and Nicky Dodaj attend the GO Campaign Gala 2019 on November 16, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for GO Campaign)

And it’s not just financial support that Joseph receives from his father. The father-son duo has been spotted out and about in public many times. Arnold’s met his son’s girlfriend, attended his son’s birthday celebration and even attended Joseph’s graduation from college. “You have earned all of the celebration and I’m so proud of you. I love you!” he wrote as a caption to a social media post featuring the graduation.

In another post, he referred to Joseph as a “fantastic son” and a “great training partner.” The whole situation between Arnold, Maria, and Mildred may have been a nightmare of a scenario but the famous actor is trying his best to do right by his secret child and parent him the best he can.

Watch this video on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s insane resilience in the face of adversity:

He finally mended fences with Maria and his kids

Divorce is never easy on the children, particularly not when there are extramarital affairs and secret love children involved. Arnold had a hell of a task ahead of him in the wake of the scandal. If he wanted to fix relations with his children and their mother, it was going to take a special sort of patience and resilience.

Thankfully, through the strength shown by Maria during these challenging circumstances, Arnold was able to retain a bond with his four children with Maria. “It has worked out really so well with the help of Maria, with the help of the kids,” said Schwarzenegger.

Arnold also shared an anecdote about how his kids surprised him with an adorable present at the premiere of one of his films.

My kids are a straight 10. I am so proud of them and I’m so in love with them <…> There was a note — ‘You’re the greatest dad, you’re the greatest this. We love you daddy’ — all this kind of stuff. It really made me feel so good, each one sent a card. Each one sent a little gift, so that’s the relationship I was looking forward to have after this complicated bump and this screw-up.

Arnold Schwarzenegger on The Howard Stern Show

Arnold and Maria themselves have built a functional co-parenting relationship. They’ve been spotted getting dinner together multiple times and even reunited to celebrate Arnold’s 73rd birthday most recently. There’s no way of telling whether they have become genuine friends but it’s safe to say they’re willing to put aside their differences for the sake of their unified family.

Taking accountability is the first step to righting your wrongs

Some mistakes are bigger and more consequential than others — there is no getting around it. Arnold’s transgressions took place over many years, if not decades, and there was no way he’d be able to get in everyone’s good graces as if nothing had happened. But instead of pointing fingers or diverting from the accusations, he successfully completed the first step of righting one’s wrongs: taking accountability and owning up.

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To be able to admit you were wrong, that you made some incredibly poor choices that led to colossal damages for your family takes more strength than you think. When everybody in this world is so keen on deflecting blame and getting themselves in the clear, it takes guts to be vulnerable enough to acknowledge your severe mistakes.

Accountability is the first and possibly the most important step to gaining forgiveness. It doesn’t depict you as a weak person, it doesn’t paint you as someone who has no will; it simply shows others that you are willing to change. And there’s no way someone can’t change unless they confess why they need to change in the first place.