Tag Archives: #forgiveness

Apologies

Apology – I am not sure I understand its real purpose or meaning. Of course, some of you might say there is no need to understand it – follow the norms, and I will be fine. But, I am sorry – I have to explore this whole apology concept. (Pun intended).

When to say sorry? The different examples of sorry situations
1. I am texting on my phone, and I walk into somebody – I apologize.
2. I was throwing tissue box to my colleague, and it hit another person – I apologize.
3. I told somebody – that this solution is not going to work and that hurt them – I had to apologize.
4. Somebody lost the interview/job/marriage – I apologize.
5. And if you are in England you start your emails with Apologies (because you are asking for something).
6. Some cases we apologize in advance.
As you can see, there are no clear rules on when to apologize – a lot of it is in a person’s head, or the societal rules dictate the situations.

What does it mean?
The dictionary meaning states that an Apology means “a regretful acknowledgment of an offense or failure.”
So is it an acceptance of the fact that you have offended somebody? But, we are all unique individuals, and our lives are no different from the dramas that air on Netflix/prime, etc. So how am I supposed to know that I have offended somebody?

The Greek origin means (Greek apologia) ‘a speech in one’s defense. Does it mean we are defending our actions?

Why Apologize?
Before we answer this, it is essential to be clear on who are we apologizing to? Is it me, another person, society or the world in general.
It is also important to note that apologizing cannot turn back time – What is done is done. There is no point in crying over split milk.

What next?

Apologies are not about right or wrong. It’s not about who offended whom; it is about starting fresh – be able to let go of what happened and start fresh. It requires one person to accept that it is their fault and another to forgive. Sorry – it does take two to tango. I am sorry for using sorry so often.

There is another quote which says, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong.” But, even apologizing requires strength – it is hard to subdue your ego, hurt and apologize because you care for the other person.
And sometimes you might apologize, but the other person does not forgive – so what do you do? Then you wish the other person well and let them live in their unforgiving world. It’s their life – you did what you could.

When we apologize, it is first of all an acknowledgment to self that yes, something needs to change here. Second, it is not about changing the situation – it is about accepting that it happened and the last step is to figure out what next and how to avoid this in future.

And sometimes life becomes a lot easier when you learn to accept an apology you never got!

Decisions – Right vs. Right

I am reading this book called “How Good People Make Tough Choices?” And Rushworth Kidder the author makes an excellent point. He says that when we make decisions – a majority of them are not between right and wrong but between right and right. When I examined my decisions or choices, I found it to be correct.

The decisions I make do not usually have a solid line demarcating right and wrong. For example: If somebody stole an iPhone from another person – it is apparently wrong. There is no question in my mind whether that is wrong or right. But let’s say I have an employee at work who has been making mistakes for about six months – now should I let him go or give him another chance?

For most of such cases, there is no correct answer – but the author makes the point that if we at least think about these choices, explore them in more detail our decision would be an informed one as opposed to a gut reaction at that moment.

I am watching the Law and Order old seasons, and they are also of a similar nature like DUI – If you kill somebody while DUI you cannot be charged with murder because you did not know what you were doing. To me, it doesn’t sound right, but the driver genuinely had no intention to kill somebody. These are very tough decisions. And it does not help that society’s view of right an wrong change too. Slavery was ok at some point, it was ok to own people as property but now its not. Polygamy was required at some point for the human population to grow, but now it is not (well, in most cases).

Even obvious scenarios may have may layers underneath them – for example – we all know it is wrong for one person to kill another person – but what if it was in self-defense or to protect your daughter from being raped or your spouse from being abused.

How can we be prepared to deal with such situations then? Well, one could read such books and watch such videos/shows that would exercise that part of the brain and make it aware that there are two sides to a story – sometimes even more. Second, examine your values – what can you live with and what can you not live with? How much of stress can you handle? You may decide to let that employee stay because you don’t want him to lose his job but then are you ready to put in the extra hours of work without any grudge. It is your life, and you have to live it.

Prof. Rao who teaches the Creativity and Personal Master course said that justice for us means revenge, not forgiveness or mercy. We want the person who hurt us to be hurt. Now, if we take an eye for an eye we will all be blind but then again do I have it in me to forgive, be merciful and live fully.

Khanti – Patience , Forbearance,Forgiveness

In one of my previous blogs I had talked about the 10 Paramis or Virtues. Today I want to talk about one of them which is

6. Khanti: Patience
May I ever be patient.
May I be able to bear and forbear the wrongs of others.
May I ever be tolerant and see the good and beautiful in all.

Like everything else this also has many layers to it. First stage is trying to get over the fact that it doesn’t matter if I think the other party is wrong or right – focus is on me being able to bear it and be calm about it. Second stage is just the limits to which you can bear it – like my previous blog about bending in the wind. If you are working to develop this parami then with every such incident in your life you bend a little bit more before you snap right back up. And like all great things in life this takes practice too. The more you practice the more you will be able to bend without breaking or snapping up.

Forbearance or self-control is the ability to exercise restraint, to stay in balance. It is disciplining yourself to be measured and temperate in your response to trying circumstances. It is being patient and even keeled while enduring hardships. It is having the ability to constrain your own worst impulses and allowing thoughtful, wiser aspects of yourself to govern what you say and do.

Just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should. Forbearance protects us against doing harm on impulse in the throes of anger or fear. Since so much of virtue is about finding a balance point between two kinds of excess, forbearance helps to keep us close to the center of our better selves.

What does it mean for us in real life? If somebody is annoying you then a)you don’t get annoyed b)you are still at peace c)you are grateful to that person for helping you strengthen your practice of Khanti. This depends on what your overall goal is – let’s say your goal in life is to get retired at the age of 50 or another goal could be to the better version of myself. How you approach a situation will depend on what goals you have? If all you care about is making money and retiring early then you will have a short-sighted approach. Where as if you want to be happy peaceful forever you will adopt a long term strategy of developing your patience.

It is possible that you can still practice patience with the goal of retiring early – the point is sometimes you have to revisit your ultimate goal to put this virtue into practice. These things take time and when the student is ready the teacher does appear. And also it depends on how important it is for your to develop this virtue? To reach to the point of ultimate patience is really long and every journey starts with small steps – it is only by taking one step a time then we complete out journey with Patience!