On Apologies

We have all made mistakes in our lives. We have disappointed people we love. We have angered our colleagues. We have hurt people both intentionally and unexpectedly. We have been taught from childhood to say we are sorry in these circumstances. This is my view on the matter:

Sorry is never good enough.

In many circumstances, a person does not forgive and forget. Assume that nobody will forgive you for the mistakes you make or forget that you made them, lest you become disappointed in learning that you still are not free from your responsibility of mitigation and repair.

When you make a mistake, do not hope for even a minute that a simple apology alone can be used as a panacea. Do not anticipate clemency. What is an apology but the expression of the feelings of the delinquent party to the disappointed and upset recipient of the transgression? From my experience, in nearly all circumstances of wrongdoing from one person to another, the transgressed feels much stronger emotions than the transgressor. So what good can an apology do?

To illustrate this point, consider the following scenario: If you said or did something to put your lover under emotional duress, and you apologize, you are effectively saying this: “Baby, I know strong feelings of rage, disappointment, and emotional pain are pulsating through your body right now, but please ignore those feelings for a moment and sympathize with my feeling of guilt and regret.” The scale is simply not equal.

If you make a mistake, take responsibility for your actions. Mitigate the impact as effectively as possible and learn to be creative in your disaster recovery efforts. If you promised your girlfriend that you would spend a few hours together but an urgent matter arose, let her know as early as possible, apologize for the disappointment, attempt to reschedule for the same day, be timely for the new appointment, and surprise her with a dozen red roses and a peppermint white mocha. After all, actions speak louder than words.

Stay classy, fellow bloggers.