October 3, 2014

Mea culpa

me·a cul·pa | noun |an acknowledgment of one's fault or error

Has anyone else noticed a trend in lack of apologizing? I think a good, old-fashioned apology is called for in many instances. It's a nice thing to do. Is it just me? An apology can be a flat out, I'm sorry or I'm sorry that happened or even I'm sorry you feel that way. I am definitely not talking about the the hollow, false I'm sorry followed by but .... You're not actually sorry, you just want to soften another blow or prove your point with sarcasm.

An apology extends an olive branch, acknowledging that someone was hurt by what you said and/or did and that you wish they hadn't been. Sometimes it isn't what you said or did, it's HOW that dealt the hurtful blow. I have a lot of pride ... too much at times. When I see that I'm being prideful, that's when I realize an apology is just what the doctor ordered. Softening someone's heart softens mine in turn, helps build (or repair) a connection and provides the basis for being able to clear the air and move on. Often people will accept the apology and be ready to forgive and forget. Other times rehashing the situation or going deep is called for. It's situational - depends on the people, relationship, circumstances, etc. 

A lot of people cling to the actual words and won't ever forgive or move on without hearing an outright apology. That seems self righteous. I do think apologies can take different forms - an act of kindness, an expression of love or gratitude. Again, it's situational and I'd like to think I'm capable of hearing and accepting an apology without hearing the actual words. I was crafting this post in my head when I came upon this from one my favorite bloggers - 

This gives a good perspective on the concept. On one hand it's taking the high road - giving the benefit of the doubt and letting yourself move on. On the other hand, it doesn't honor the [powerful] connection that may occur when openly and physically demonstrating regret, remorse or intent for the person to avoid the misstep in the future. 

I think what I struggle with most in lack of ability or willingness to apologize is not accepting accountability or showing empathy and humility. It also signals immaturity - incapacity of growth and understanding others' perspectives. We all fail, we all fall and we all have moments of insanity. When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable and confessional, we demonstrate our humanity. We're all human (though I have apologized to my dog as well). I'd bet 90% of the time the other party flashes to a time when they were sorry and apologized (or wished they had) as well.

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