It’s no secret that the British are chronic over apologisers — but that’s not actually what this blog post is about. It’s not about culture, but rather pride, humility, and being able to recognise one’s own mistakes.
Someone once tried to insult me, saying “Bradley, it sure seems like you have to apologise a lot.” I was actually apologising at the time, and their words struck at me as if to discount the sincerity of my sentiment. As if every time you say sorry the word loses more meaning.
The thing was, I didn’t take it as an insult. Saying sorry is a skill I won’t apologise for. It occurred to me then that not everyone has this skill. Not everyone can look within themselves and say: “You know what — I messed up this time, no ins and outs about it, and I need to say sorry for that. Maybe I said the wrong thing, or did the wrong thing, and it hurt someone’s feelings. It’s time to rectify that.”
Saying sorry is humility just as the unwillingness to do so is pride. I, for one, will not harness pride as an inappropriate excuse for an inability to recognise errors in judgement, and an inability to express remorse for those errors. Rather I will take pride in my ability to recognise when I have erred and do everything I can to express my desire to rectify words and actions that may have caused harm.
At the end of the day, we are only human – and I’ve come to realise that those who can put their pride away, to apologise, have a certain strength that many lack. And I’m not saying that I’m strong, but rather that I’m grateful that I possess this skill, and I’m grateful that this skill has helped me navigate the complexity of human emotion and experience. With this skill I pursue love in all that I do – and where I fall short of spreading love and peace through my words and actions, I know just how to rectify it.
But I’ll pass this on to you. Is saying sorry a skill or a detriment?