There are two kinds of apologies – one that is real, that makes you feel guilty to introspect and change your behavior. Second is the one that is done just to please, to avoid an argument, shift the responsibility or save a relationship.
When I was growing up, I was many times told to apologize to assuage the feelings of somebody though I had done no harm. Even when I refused to do a chore that I didn’t feel like doing or felt it was below my dignity to polish the shoes of a sibling, I was given a violent reward and told to apologize!
Obviously I refused, as I didn’t believe in such an apology. In my view, a sincere apology is the one that emanates from one’s heart and is well deserved too.
Do you believe in apology? Some people don’t, as it is below their dignity to apologize.
- People who maintain emotional distance never apologize.
- Their ego and pride is bigger than all relationships.
- They don’t want to take the blame.
- They don’t want to abdicate power and control over others.
- They believe in self-righteousness, not humility.
- Anger and bitterness may overpower their goodness.
- Self-esteem, which they nurture, is all-important.
On the other hand are people who apologize profusely and live that moment only to forget it the next day.
- They are most insensitive.
- They live within moments.
- They never make an effort to change.
- For them, apology is just a face saver.
- Fear of consequences propel them to apologize.
- They could be living in the shadow of their own insecurities.
Which ones do you like?
Is apology meaningless? Sometimes, if it is not received well.
Recently my argumentative muse mentioned that apology and forgiveness go hand in hand. In order to forgive, an apologetic and receptive heart is required. If forgiveness is not received well, it becomes meaningless.
I reminded her that we forgive for our own solace. The person I forgive may remain as vindictive as ever, may remain indifferent and hostile but all those negative vibes return to the heart they stem from. They can never touch me because the moment I forgive, I detach myself from such people.
Sometimes we have to forgive ourselves for the hurts we may have caused to others. We may justify our actions by telling ourselves that ‘we didn’t hurt intentionally’ but we can never comprehend the perspective of others who think otherwise.
I know forgiveness is not easy. I have painstakingly taught myself this art. I kept on reassuring myself for many years that I would never forgive certain people, as this thought gave me a grim satisfaction that I have vindicated myself.
I also know very well that basic human behavior has not changed for ages. What we have learnt is the art of wearing masks. We try not to offend, we choose our words carefully, we avoid the topic that may cause unpleasantness, and we become ambivalent whenever a direct question is asked but we never reveal what lies within our heart. We never share our most secret thoughts.
The best apology is to change your behavior:
Change may be hard but only through behavioral changes do we become a likeable person. Is it so hard to change one’s behavior?
- We could begin with kindness, the virtue, which is innate, which is like a candle that needs just a spark to get ignited. A kind word spoken with sincerity is always heard.
- We could stop making glum faces and smile more often to reassure the other person that our apology was honest.
- We could try to be emotionally present during our interactions and keep our digital devices away.
- A meaningful conversation melts away many fears and insecurities.
- We could respect each other with little gestures of sharing the chores we detest.
- It is better to forgive even those who refuse to acknowledge it. Their own moment of understanding the value of apology would hit them one day. Let their age yield them at the altar of forgiveness.
Thank you for reading this. Please share your valuable reflections, as they are much appreciated.
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