There are many things in life that are difficult to do. Probably one of the most difficult is to apologize. Be it in a relationship, in business or in government, it seems we are loathe to utter those words, “I apologize”. To do so is to admit we erred, we were wrong. That is a difficult thing for our egos to swallow. Perhaps it is because we want everyone to think the very best of us, and to admit we made a mistake would be to devalue ourselves somehow. While it is true that the person owed the apology thinks less of us without an apology, we tend to weigh that against all others who know us and who would, we fear, think less of us knowing our transgression.
In lieu of an apology, too often in business and government the mantra heard most often is, “mistakes were made”. This does nothing for acknowledging the responsibility for one’s own actions or words, and, in fact, suggests that just maybe someone else might be at fault. In personnel relations the phrases most often used are, “I didn’t mean anything by that” which begs the question if nothing was meant, why the words were uttered. The other cop out is, “you’re just too sensitive”. Regardless of the words, the bottom line is that we are just avoiding what needs to be said, specifically, “I am sorry, it was my fault – I apologize”. For all the subterfuge, what most situations require are those exact 8 words.
I mention this because that is precisely what I did the other day – offered a few people my apologies for what I considered, in hindsight, to be harsh comments regarding some actions they took. You can’t require the offended to accept your apology, however, if you have any kind of moral compass you live life by, you know what you have to do, even if you are over 60.