The Art of Offense and Apologies

Photo on 2014-08-11 at 15.45 #3The years before I got divorced, the year I got divorced and the year following my divorce, as you can seriously only imagine, have been rich with offense and apology. Constantly. Continuously. Exhaustingly so. And not just with the obvious principal players, but with lots of people in my tribe. And on the real, possibly more offense than apology. 

But isn’t this about how it goes for everyone? Relationships. Gah. Seriously. I love ’em and hate ’em all at the same time. There are a few people in my life that frustrate the hell out of me and I want to throw them off a cliff and then run to the bottom to catch them. Because I love them. But for whatever reason, we can’t seem to get an easy vibe going. Which means miscommunication. Misunderstood feelings. Unmet expectations. And Mexican stand-offs. (Sorry to the Mexicans. Sorry. It’s just an expression, yes?)

And so the offense/apology circle is a pitted and well-traveled path. But there are bits and pieces to it that get sort of muddy at times. And so this is what I’d like to offer:

The person who has done the offending

REGARDLESS OF INTENTION

Does not get to judge whether or not the offended person should be offended


 You should probably reread that. It might take a second or third look

{Feel free to sub out the word “offended” for whatever flies your kite: insulted, hurt, degraded, humiliated. We run an equal opportunity shit show here}

 And before anyone gets crazy, I’m strictly referring to one-on-one personal relationships here; Not to social media/political correctness/Merry Christmas and rainbow-flag-waving type of “offenses”. Those are a totally different type of headache. Like a migraine. 

The thing is this– If I’ve hurt you, whether or not I intended to, if I value our relationship and am seeking to live at peace with others as much as possible, then I need to apologize. Period. You get to feel what you feel and I don’t get to decide if it’s valid or not. Because truthfully, the thickness of our skin is as varied as the colors of it. Totally. Completely. Different. 

And how I see it

Is not necessarily how it is

It’s only how I see it

We, each one of us, are masterful lawyers at defending our own feelings and intentions, but incredibly tough judges when it comes to measuring someone else’s.

SorrySaying you’re sorry doesn’t have to mean you were wrong; Saying you’re sorry means that you want to take tender care of another person’s heart and feelings. Being an attentive, mindful caretaker is an important part of growing healthy, soulful, connected relationships.

And so if we can learn to live with this as a core value– to cause as little harm to others as possible– and apologize quickly and easily if and when we do cause hurt or harm, no matter how right we think we are, it will change the atmosphere we live in. And changing the atmosphere changes the world. And at the end of the day, I want to be a world-changer more than I want to be right. Do it with me?

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “The Art of Offense and Apologies

  1. Paulette D. Harris says:

    I enjoy reading your blog.. But I must say when I care that much about a friend who may have offended me the only way to deal with it is in person.. Blogs can’t express true feelings..even though it may hurt .. At the end of the day Love outweighs the pain!

    Like

  2. Michael D Dombrowski says:

    Julie, You know what I like about dogs? You can step on them and they’ll come back to you with an apology for being in your way! Humans can learn much from dogs.

    I agree with you that saying “I’m sorry” does not mean “I’m wrong.” It often means (or should) that I recognize that I’ve hurt you. It’s really about humility- that’s why we struggle with apologies.

    Always love your perspective!

    Take care,

    Mike D

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s