a regretful acknowledgment of an offense or failure.
Is it ever too late to apologize? I’ll leave that answer up to you.
The other day I got released from a really big job. My manager (the most amazing woman ever) apologized to me. It was completely unnecessary because that’s just the nature of the business, but she knows how hard I work and understood what it meant to me. She followed it up with a “I believe in you.” It was truly heartfelt and I appreciated her acknowledgement of me as a person and an artist and the struggles that we go through.
But sometimes people apologize and don’t mean it. If you’re one of those, you should know that an apology without meaning is really manipulation. Have you ever had someone say, “I’m sorry you feel that way.” This is the worst apology of all because it really isn’t one. What it is, is a passive aggressive way of saying I’ll let you think I am acknowledging your feelings, when really I don’t give a crap about them at all.
I have had a few turdy people do some pretty shitty things to me in my life and I have never expected an apology from any of them nor do I want one. An empty person can only beget an empty apology which leaves you feeling emptier, and I don’t know about you, but I would rather be at a table with those who bring something to it, in lieu of those who only know how to take.
Here are my thoughts on an apology.:
1)An apology is not a confession. If you’re confessing, you’re only thinking of yourself and not the person you are apologizing to.
2)An apology should not be done with an expectation either. This is called an agenda and an agenda is all about you.
3)An apology is not some magic pill that you think is going to make you feel better once you do it. You’re swimming back in the me waters again. Save that shit for the confessional!
4)An apology should not be done because you think it will make things better in a situation, like a family thing. This is called acting. A person in touch with another person’s feelings will know when they need to say they are sorry, it won’t be scripted.
5)An apology is not something that requires the right time or the right circumstance. If you think this way, then you live in denial, because there is no much thing.
In it’s simplest form, an apology is the acknowledgement of another person’s feelings and how you may have trampled all over them. In order to know this, you have to have empathy. You have to have the ability to understand the feelings of someone else and be able to share those feelings openly and honestly. If you can’t do that, then don’t bother with an apology because it won’t be taken as one. (See 1-5 for where you are coming from).
But there are those times when we think we might need to apologize to someone, when it isn’t necessary at all. I think these apologies are from our own guilt because we know we did something that may have upset someone else, but it wasn’t intentional. An apology with an energy of fear or trepidation around it might be some program you’re running which has absolutely nothing at all to do with the person you think you need to apologize to, and you might want to look further into that.
My gauge for apologizing is simple. If I can see, hear or sense that I have upset someone in my life that I care about, then I do not hesitate. The relationships I have are far more important to me than my ego, so I acknowledge my part in someone else’s sadness, anger or frustration because my heart becomes lighter when I do so. A heavy heart is a burdened one; let that shit go.
Relationships that matter to us aren’t always easy. Sometimes things are said or weren’t said, and we wish we could go back and do things differently. But living in the past doesn’t work for anyone because it’s over. It is the present that counts.
Our time, our energy, our attention lets the people we care about know that we hear them, see them and understand them and that no matter what is going on in our world, we honor them by noticing what is going on in theirs as well.
And at the end of the day, that’s all any of us really want, isn’t it? To be honored, seen, appreciated and loved for who we are, by those we care for most.