12 July 2012

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What are you apologizing for?

This is a debt free blog, but we also focus on living free and debts that we owe ourselves and in this post we look at what we might owe other people without realizing it. It’s not just an apology, as we can do better than that!

Erin Pavlina writes about excuses and says that saying “sorry” doesn’t mean much if you’re just going to repeat what you did. Saying sorry is asking for forgiveness, in an attempt to shift the responsibility from the person whose behaviour was overstepping some boundary, to the person who they want to forgive them. It’s kind of like a free pass to do it again because you see that your actions don’t have very unfavourable consequences. It’s not that you are a bad person, you just have a nasty habit and it’s an inconvenience or even hurtful to those around you.

Apologies only mean something if you mean it! Pavlina
means that teaching a child to apologize is quite senseless

Of course, forgiveness is a good thing in the sense that holding a grudge is poisonous, but forgiving someone over and over means that you are accepting of their behaviour even though it is hurtful to you. We can’t go through life without being inconvenienced, but we can insist on being treated with respect. And as we’ve all heard before, you have to demand respect. Don’t think of it as being rude, you might even be helping the person you are asking to change their behaviour.

If you’re the person always saying sorry, ask yourself why you’re not changing you behaviour and if it won’t be better for your well-being and those around you if you consider others with your actions. Of course, some people just say sorry too much, even to the irritation of those around them. Just as some expect too much of others. Of course we all mess up sometimes, so instead of saying sorry a hundred times, rather promise to be as careful as you possibly can not to repeat this behaviour in the future.

It might also be necessary to try and make up for what you did, even if it can’t make things the way they were. My friend recently broke her ankle after a friend was joking around with her and she fell off a porch. Saying sorry won’t make her ankle magically heal overnight, but to this day he has made no effort to visit her while she’s stuck at home or made any effort to make her healing time more comfortable. I guess things like making mistakes are what really test a friendship.

One thing that can ruin friendships at the speed of light is money. I have vowed to myself this week not to loan my friends money again. It’s not that I mind them not giving it back when they said they will, as they are my friends and I don’t want to put unnecessary pressure on them. It’s just really awkward asking for my money (in case they forgot) and them apologizing profusely or avoiding the subject! I don’t know what’s worse. What I actually want to hear is “sorry it’s late, but you will have it by Saturday”, and that promise being kept of course.

Most people aren’t unreasonable, but all of us want to know where we stand. In the future, try to say sorry only when you mean it and back it up with a promise to change and stick to it! If you’re on the receiving end of an apology, tell the person that there’s no need to apologize profusely, we all mess up, but you will expect them to change in the future, otherwise there is no point to an apology.

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