Such difficult words, ‘I’m sorry’. Such ridiculous words that are often used without base, without explanation and truly without much feeling. They are words that we throw out there as easily as we throw away compliments, and oftentimes are as insincere as those words of praise. They are words that often do not immediately offer surcease or relief; they often cannot make up for the damage done so easily. They are ineffectual for most people, and have gone to the wayside because of the inability of people to use them wisely. We use them so easily, that just like anything else without given without care, they have become ineffectual.
What often amazes me when I look at my life and where I am now, is not only changes that I have put in place, but my ability to be things I once could never have imagined: humble, apologetic, kind, respectful. Don’t get me wrong I wasn’t a bad person necessarily, it just would never have occurred to me that by interrupting a meeting for my own goal, I was not being kind. The ironic part about all this is the meeting was about teamwork.
I work hard these days to do things I wouldn’t have normally thought necessary once upon a time. In all the wisdom of my youth, I would never consider apologizing for stealing someone’s thunder, certainly not when the meeting was long over, and certainly not to the person who deserves my apology. I would have simply let it go and tried to remember to do better the next time; but again, I wouldn’t.
One of the powers of a sincere apology is it’s ability to stick in your head and remember. I will never forget forcing myself to apologize to the lady who was running the meeting yesterday. Every time I look at her I will think about it. Someone commented to me that I was giving her power over me by apologizing; and I respectfully disagree. No one has any power over me that I do not give them. Apologies are not holes in the armor of your power; they are simple and meaningful words that people should use only when they believe they are necessary.
While I believe in apologies, they are and should be complex. You can’t apologize just because someone is making you, and you can’t just say words that have no meaning. It doesn’t count, and is usually a much uglier sentiment than the original action. But apologies can also be freeing. They give lie to rest incidents that keep you up at night, and can help to counter the guilt that comes with the knowledge you need to apologize.
I believe that everything should be entered into carefully; and apologies are not different. But quit thinking of it as a loss of power or control, rather think of it as a way for an adult to distinguish themselves from the jerks around her. At least that is where I try to go.
At the end of the day, the truth is, I probably owe more apologies than I will ever give. But the ones I do give, I do so with my whole heart.