METALandMIRRORS: Life: Apologies But Maybe Not

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Life: Apologies But Maybe Not

I was thinking today about forgiveness and apologies and why it is so hard for people to do one or the other. I think part of it is vulnerability and the other part is looking at oneself instead of the other person. It is so easy to point fingers. We all have done it, lest we forget when one finger is pointing one way the other four are pointing the other, at oneself.

One is not reciprocal of the other and one may never come when the other is given. I think back to my childhood when we would argue and our parents would make us each apologize to each other and then hug it out. This is good advice, but the problem itself wasn't dealt with, they just wanted it to end because we wouldn't be allowed to argue after we hugged it out. At least for that moment in time.

I thought about what does a good apology look like? I thought back on the apologies that I thought were sincere versus the ones that truly were not in no shape or form. I thought about the forced ones and the ones to just end it and move on. I jotted down some notes and more notes, then marked through the ones that didn't matter and revised the ones that could be duplicate. I think I found some key points to bring up here for a great apology if one is needed for making an atonement.

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The first thing that clearly came to mind was to not make it condescending. When someone says "I'm sorry you're mad." they are not taking ownership of the apology. It implies that they are right in what they did. Instead, take responsibility for the action and say "I'm sorry I threw away your shirt." It is specific and points out that you understand why the other person is upset.

The next thing is a biggie, in my opinion. Do not say "but". "But" means an excuse is coming and negates the apology that was just said. It implies that responsibility is not being taken for actions committed. "I'm sorry I threw away your shirt, but it had a hole in it and you know I don't like holes." The "but" is a means of justifying why an apology isn't needed because ownership is not being taken into account.

The next one is to not give an apology expecting one in return. If a fight happens and both parties were in the wrong and one person decides to apologize first, then that takes a lot of gumption. However, once the sincere apology is given, responsibility is taken, and the party owned up to their part of the argument, then it ends there. Sometimes the other side of the apology never comes and that is the hard part. Sometimes just knowing the apology was given needs to be enough.

It really boils down to four things: regret, understanding, responsibility, and willingness to do better. An apology should mean something and not taken lightly or for granted. When one is given correctly, the future actions will show. There is no point in giving an apology if nothing changes.

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