An apology is not so much an admission of guilt as it is an acknowledgment of responsibility. The distinction is crucial.
Last week sucked. I unknowingly made some people upset while I was dealing with this new thing called “mourning.” And they told me about it. So yesterday, I apologized.
Wait, I should probably say it this way: Yesterday, I apologized—profusely.
I didn’t want to—it was really hard—but I did it anyways. And I meant it.
It all started when I created something I honestly believed to be thoughtful. It was heartfelt and raw, and I decided to share it with someone I thought would appreciate it like I did. I gave it away in the same spirit in which it was created, heartfelt and raw. The person who received it looked over it and thought it was distasteful. Their reaction was unexpected and kind of public. I was hurt. Actually, I was really hurt. And then I apologized.
In my book, acts of apology are right up there with acts of kindness. One of the most difficult social situations is standing in front of the person who you feel has done you wrong. An even more difficult situation is saying “I’m so, so sorry” to that very same person. Go for the gold and choose the latter.
Don’t get me wrong; I didn’t always feel this way. I used to be someone who was driven by the need to prove something more than I was the need to solve something. I guess the older you get, the more you need to face the truth—and the truth is that oftentimes you have a moment, a single moment, to make someone feel better. There are no dress rehearsals. The person that you let walk away angry will inevitably affect many more people with that same energy. You have to understand that it’s bigger than you. Much bigger…
Apologizing is a completely selfless act. It’s saying out loud, “I know my power and I refuse to exploit it!”
I didn’t feel like I did anything wrong. I still don’t, but an apology is not so much an admission of guilt as it is an acknowledgment of responsibility. The distinction is crucial. Even though you may not have caused the distress, you have the ability to grant a reprieve.
Yeah, I know what they say: it doesn’t change things. Sometimes “sorry” just isn’t enough, but sometimes it is. Nothing can ever change the past, but a great apology has the ability to rewrite tomorrow.
After all, the last thing you want to do is spend all your time defending yourself instead of just being yourself.
How many times have you apologized today?