There was a friend I had on Facebook that would weekly post this question “What have we learned this week boys & girls?” It became a favorite of mine and I looked forward to seeing it because it motivate me to ensure I did learn something new no matter how great or small. I’ve since incorporated the question as an icebreaker from time to time during group sessions I facilitate. It’s a good way to encourage others to think beyond their norm and embrace the knowledge gained.
I felt like writing because I learned something through observation the physically effects of apologizing to someone sincerely that I never noticed before. I witnessed the tense and agitated demeanor the person initially presented toward me change into a calm relaxed and even softening after I sincerely apologized. Of course I know the basics of what an apology can do especially when it’s sincere and accompanied with humbled non-verbal’s. It wasn’t until about a few weeks ago I felt how disarming it can be to the offended which I was however this week I was the offender. I’m sorry to report that I’m imperfect, I know it sucks to read because it sucks to admit. (ßok that was me being sarcastic) Okay let me split this up because I was the offended a few weeks ago and the offender this week. I’m going to tell both situations from the short end of the stick, sort to speak….
I was heated! I mean really angry and I remember thinking about all that I was going to say to set offender straight! I mean I took time out to think of what to say how I was going to say it and what my response would be to several comebacks that the offender just may say in opposition. (I know I’m not the only one that does this) The time came and as I spoke to the one who offended me I began with two statements that lead into my rant. The offender did the one thing I did not prepare for and that was giving me an apology. It was clearly spoken, well stated without excuses nor any passive aggressive undertones. Just an “I’m sorry, I was wrong!” and what made it most effective is that the person rarely gave an apology without a “defeat”. I remember retelling this to my Guy and he asked me if I still said everything I had prepared? I simply asked rhetorically “how do you completely go off into a prepared rant after an apology?”
I sat there with a million things running through my mind as I watched the person I disappointed find the words to say that they were disappointed with me. I could sense their agitation so I was sure to focus and listen intensively as they spoke. I felt awful that I caused the tension and placed the person in a position to have to address the issue. When it was my turn to speak all I had was “I’m sorry that I did that and placed you in this position.” It almost felt like time stop for a second like it does in the really innovative movie like “Inception” ….or maybe not. Maybe I just really liked the movie and wanted to reference it but anyway, I had a moment! I watched the person I just offered a heartfelt apology to, relax and completely change from having a highly irritated mood to showing compassion toward my humbled offering.
The relative importance of an apology I know is to mend and/or soothe something broken emotionally or mentally however one thing I’ve never taken the time to observe was the physical effect. I would also have to factor in that I’m in a place mentally that I’ve grown to nurture and embrace so that helps. I don’t think I've ever seen the benefits of choosing to be angry and vengeful whether an apology was rendered or not. Unfortunately during those times it didn't stop me from holding on to it like it was an innocent newborn left on the side of the road. I also understand that an apology can’t undo harmful actions however if done with genuine sincerity and effectively it can alter the negative effects and possible reactions caused by those actions.
Well that's my moment away from my busy world, I appreciate the time I can steal away and write something quickly and share. I pray it's a help to someone that takes the time out of their busy world to read. Oh....wait....what did you learn this week?