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?
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.
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!