The Infamous Reputation of Forgiveness was a hit on the lets build website when I first wrote it in 2017. But talking about forgiveness was only half of the pie.
Recently, I discovered how I’ve conditioned myself to forgive in the absence of an apology; sadly, I had begun to no longer expect one. We are really bad at apologizing , let alone, asking for forgiveness when we’ve wronged someone. We Lean into the thought that the imperfections in another cancels out the need for accountability on our part. We close our connections by simply walking away and thinking “oh well“…convincing ourselves that the other person overreacted. The blind spots in our self awareness comes into play with us avoiding accountability, indulging in our pride, and yes, upholding the fear of vulnerability.
The number one answer that the builders gave to the question Why are we so bad at apologizing?
Pride and Ego.
Eighty Two percent of builders say their Apology game is STRONG.
Eighteen percent of builders say their Apology game is TRASH.
If it takes perfection to activate your accountability then you will effectively escape apology often; you will also escape the ability to mature out of those imperfections.The infamous reputation of (Apology)
Accountability is Uncomfortable
No one likes to admit when they’re wrong or when they’ve wronged. If we’re not careful we internalize apologizing in a way that tells us we’re bad people; when in fact we’re just flawed. But even admitting we’re flawed in specific ways is too much for some. While we outwardly proclaim that nobody’s perfect, we silently struggle with the lived examples of what imperfection looks like. The spectrum imperfection looks like apologizing and yet, not enough of us do it.
The spirit of pride whispers to us that whatever or whoever isn’t worth the apology. Saying “It’s not that deep,” in an attempt to diminish the situation at hand. This in turns diminishes the other person(s) whose feelings and thoughts were affected by our actions/words. The accountability of it all is a tough pill to swallow. Being face to face with the opportunity to apologize opens us up to some serious self reflection and the hard questions that surround those personal events.
Were you intentionally hurting, dismissing, disrespecting? Was it unintentional? Both questions along with your answers come with their own weight. Weight that many aren’t prepared to carry. It’s too uncomfortable when we think about the ways in which someone else has experienced us negatively. So we stuff down the thought that there’s even a need for an apology in creative ways that are not only harmful to the one(s) deserving of our apology but to our growth as well.
Imperfection Gives us an excuse
We deflect because accountability is uncomfortable; we try avoid it. Finding any excuse to dodge feelings of guilt, remorse, and regret; the easiest way to do this is to focus on the imperfection of the other person or the situation itself. Life doesn’t just cleanly happen, so we find ourselves often in situations where the other person may be wrong on some level as well. Factors surrounding the situation could also act as an influencer on the negative display of our actions/words and the need for an apology.
When we decide to take this morsel of truth and stretch it out in an elaborate excuse by saying “I mean I was wrong but they weren’t right either.” or “It’s really not on me because (insert outside factor)…We deny ourselves an opportunity to grow and yes, be the bigger person. We can acknowledge the facts of a thing and still hold ourselves accountable for the ways we participated and contributed to the final results. The results could mean hurting someone or mishandling a particular situation, person etc…If it takes perfection to activate your accountability then you will effectively escape apology often; you will also escape the ability to mature out of those imperfections. The blind spots in our self awareness may only come to light when others are negatively affected by our actions/words; if we don’t pay attention to this then we will never fully see the truth of who we are. Effectively being blind to ourselves.
The Naked Truth
To apologize often means we care enough about the other person’s feeling to bypass the pride, admit the imperfection, and don the accountability; this is also why I believe many don’t do it. We show we care on some level when we offer this mental and emotional work; we’re vulnerable in apologizing and sometimes not even asking for forgiveness. Ideally, we want to apologize no matter the person but some may find it easier to offer a “my bad” to a stranger than to a friend, lover, or family member. Holding back that part of us that is honest and transparent for the fear of truly being seen as anything other than what we present. If I’m always presenting myself as someone who is confident and sure of themselves then I may find it hard to admit that I’m wrong.
Others may see this simple human flaw as an opportunity to discount me in the future and deny the image I project for them to buy into. Fear drives so much of our avoidance even when we’re confident people; even when we feel self aware. I don’t want this person to know I cared that much or that I’m imperfect in that way. We’re afraid to be real although we claim to what nothing but realness. We have some work to do.
“Well I messed up so bad I know she/he isn’t going to forgive me.“
We’ve gotten into the habit of either expecting forgiveness upon apology or avoiding apology because we don’t expect forgiveness. It is imperative that we recognize that accountability is one of the most important reasons we should apologize and not always think this is a golden ticket back into good graces. This understanding can also be used to follow through with the act of apology too. Many factors may come into play with a personal apology. The person may still be processing your actions and their emotions. For this reason they need time to offer genuine forgiveness; they could be angry still, or may not believe forgiveness is something they can offer based on the offense.
That doesn’t give you the green light to opt out of the apology. I’m not talking to you serial apologizers who abuse the word and the action with repeated offense. For regular situations and non-maniuplative reasons, apology should be offered even when forgiveness may not be. Some hate the idea and phrase of “YOU OWE AN APOLOGY.”
As if you are in a debt that can only be paid in full by an “I’m Sorry,” but there’s truth there. You have cost that person something for those offended and affected by your wrong. It could be peace of mind, money, opportunity, trust; you name it by the offense. You are in a special kind of debt to repay what you cost them and sometimes the price of an apology is the cheaper way out than you deserve.
Stop saying sorry for shit you’re not sorry for
Stop saying sorry for shit you’re not accountable for
And Stop giving half ass apologies then acting Fake shocked when the offended party gets more offended by your sloppiness
“You know I ain’t mean it.”
“It was just a joke, damn you’re sensitive but sorry then.”
Like WTF is any of that? Because I know what it’s NOT, an apology. Again, accountability is the secret ingredient in a sincere apology so if you’re not going to fully accept responsibility for your offense then don’t do it. The sloppy apology is a cheap way to continue the cycle of avoidance. Another attempt to excuse yourself by saying you tired to apologize but it didn’t work so the problem isn’t you. It’s all deflection because you’re not honest in your self reflection.
Time is also NOT an apology. Time can be a buffer and needed space to process through the emotions but it does not serve as a way to apologize simply because you’re choosing not to actually deal with the situation. How can you process through something you refuse to even acknowledge. This is the same reason why speaking on your part in the fuck up is important. You’re letting the person know you understand what your actions were and attempting to understand how they impacted another; accountability isn’t just for your personal growth but is the truest way to move forward.
Apologizing just to shut someone up is also not effective especially if the person can sniff out the bullshit. FYI.
Let’s Get Better at apologizing as we build up the skills of adulthood that makes us the best versions of ourselves.