Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A working apology is not an opportunity to restate the original injury...

A working apology is not an opportunity to restate the original injury, nor is it a free "get out of jail card..." 
What is an apology? For starters, it is a social convention. It is a kind of grease that allows us to slide past rough spots. It is device of function for both sides. The apologizer is excused for his/her trespass, and the apologizee receives a compensation of sorts for the said trespass. Therefore, it is in the interest of both parties and for society, that this act to be carried out with grace and sincerity.

In today's society, where courtesy and grace seem to be lost arts, "the apology" is taking a beating. Often on display is an outright refusal to apologize, executed by the machismo crowd. Their creed is never apologize, for that would show caring and bring you to the level of the injured. We couldn't have that! We also have developed many pseudo-apologies. An example is the I can't be bothered apology, "Oh all right, I'm sorry, now stop whining. Geesh!" Another common apology today is the non-apology apology, where the apologizer says, "To any of those who MIGHT have been offended I apologize." In other words, I am not sorry for being offensive, but I need to get off the hook (of scrutiny) so I can go back to being offensive.

What is this all about? Are we all too big to be at fault these days? The reason for the social convention was originally developed because eveyone realized that at some time or other THEY would be the one hurt, and by accepting an apology, they would be paying forward for the acceptance they would receive when they were THEY were the perpetrator. What a nice solution!

Today though, we are all Ego-driven one-man teams, too important, too high and mighty to even recognize the collateral damage of our actions nevermind feel bad enough to seek atonement. Afterall, offering an apology might open one up to litigation, and one might have to make reparations, pay damages! Reparations are for LOSERS! Why do you think it is called paying damages? Because these are damages you have caused! Corporations and the wealthy, hire whole lawfirms to create labyrinths of ways to injure without responsibility. Shame on them...

The truth is, when you hurt someone emotionally, caused loss of income, ended a life, poisoned an environment, crippled a child through an injury or a carcinogen, or have otherwise polluted the functioning beauty of someone's life, you have a responsibility to apologize to them, even when doing so acknowledges a debt.

Today, BE careful. When you do offend, don't let your Ego rule. Apologize. A sincere apology from the heart affirms that the offended one is of value. And, when you receive a heartfelt apology, accept it graciously, for a working apology is not an opportunity to restate the original injury...


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