In this week's New York Times Magazine, Lisa Belkin has a fascinating piece on apologies. She writes that there have been so many apologies in the media these days, but that many of them seem insincere. She asks what makes an apology really meaningful and then posits some answers.
First of all, there has to be an actual taking of responsibility for one's actions. How many of us like to do the "I'm sorry, but..." routine. I particularly am very good at this. Kind of like- I was wrong but you made me do it or I was wrong but you are wrong too! Not very helpful.
Belkin then writes that when making a sincere apology, there has to be some risk involved. If you take responsibility despite the fact that you may actually face a consequence for doing so, whether it is a monetary fine, anger or humiliation; it shows the person involved that you are sincere and truly regret your actions. People respect that kind of strength.
It really comes down to vulnerability. Nobody likes to admit they are wrong, that they have weaknesses, needs or flaws. I know that I don't. How many of us will truly apologize to our kids when we lose our temper and yell, rather than saying: you were misbehaving so I was justified in yelling. How often do we unconditionally say we are sorry to our spouses.
During the Three Weeks, this might be a good thing to work on. When you do something wrong (which obviously never happens!), take responsibility for your actions. Take a risk and admit you were wrong. Say you are sorry. I can guarantee it will make all the difference to the person involved. And to you too.
And now for something completely unrelated; my little blogger-in-training