Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Art of the Apology The Gift of Forgiveness

Apologies are hard. I would go as far as saying that there is almost an art to an apology. I have never been one for confrontation. I have spent most of my life running from it. More times than I would like to admit, I have chosen to let someone go rather than deal with a confrontation. I find people try and get around a true apology by twisting their words. Sometimes they were carefully worded as to imply that the other person was wrong, as in "I am sorry you feel that way". " I am sorry you feel that way" is not an apology. "I am sorry you feel that way" means I don't agree with what you are feeling but I am going to say this to try and look like the bigger person, when in fact I am plainly telling you that your feelings are not valid. Or it was "life is how you frame it, you don't have to be upset". Yes, I completely 100% understand that my emotional reaction to any situation is my choice and I have the power and the ability to control my reactions, but sometimes you just want to hear that your feelings are valid. Sometimes you just want a little empathy. I don't understand, and I never have, why life is such a competition of egos. Why is saying "I am sorry" somehow harmful to you? How is saying "I am sorry" an admission of guilt? Why does "I am sorry" have to be followed by a long list of excuses? Why is it so hard to just say "I am sorry" and leave it at that? "Apologizing doesn't mean you're right or wrong, it just means you value your relationship more than your ego". I tell people I am sorry all the time. If you are having a bad day, I am sorry. If I said something that offended you, I am sorry. If I let you down, I am sorry. If someone else let you down, I am sorry. I work on the phones for a living, and often I will talk to people who are completely irrational and it is my job to acknowledge that person's feelings and empathize with them. "I am so sorry to hear that happened, let me see what I can do to make it right" are words I utter daily. It doesn't mean I am a lessor person, in fact, in my opinion, I think having the ability to empathize and acknowledge makes you a better person. I try everyday to grow and better myself. One of then things I have been working on is standing up for myself. It has been hard. It is much easier for me to just swallow my feelings up and move on. I have learned that boundaries are very important. We each as individuals have the right to decide how we are willing to be treated. That is a very important part of learning to love yourself.  We have no control over how other people act or think. We cannot change anyone but ourselves. I love the quote from Gandhi "Be the change you want to see in this world". I know that I cannot make people act a certain way, but I can try and be an example to others. And I know that I am not perfect. I am far from perfect. On the flip side, there is also an art to forgiveness. Holding in anger is only punishing yourself. I have often heard it said that "forgiveness is a gift we give to ourselves". I will work hard everyday on forgiveness and letting go. I know it is something I need to work on. This is all, of course, just my opinion. I will leave you with these words....

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