Saturday, February 20, 2010

Some Apologies Are Sorry

(If you could care less about Tiger, breathe deep--this isn't about Tiger.)

Everybody has their opinion about Tiger and many are giving him advice. Former basketball star Magic Johnson advised, "All he has to say is 'I'm sorry; I'm human.'" WRONG!! Never follow an "I'm sorry" with any verbiage which will merely discount/minimize or void the apology. "I'm sorry" begins to take owndership of what I have done; "I'm human" (as if to say "I'm only human") now robs my apology of any sense of transgression. "Hey, I'm human" means 1. everbody else does it, so what's the problem in me doing it? 2. it happens to everybody else so why are you so upset about what I did to you?

That's a very sorry "I'm sorry."

The other sorry apology is "I'm sorry, but. . . " Get your "but" out of any apology you offer. As soon as I utter "but" I'm no longer taking responsibility for what I've done and am now blaming it or attributing it to someone else. "I'm sorry, but if you hadn't. . . I wouldn't have . . ." is also a very sorry "I'm sorry."

Most of us hate being wrong and we hate admitting when we've wronged another. Nonetheless, when apologizing we must own, we must take total responsibility for what we've said or done. We must acknowledge how it has hurt or offended the other person. We must ask for their forgiveness (I'm gritting my teeth as I type this sentence) and commit to them that we will do all in our power not to hurt them in that manner again.

If my wife reads this post she will surely be thinking, "Steve, you look good on paper; what's up with your sorry apologies through the years?" I will tell her, "I'm sorry; I'm human, and if you hadn't. . . "

I apologize for the delay between this post and the next. I'll be recovering. Sorry.


Anonymous said...

I am s strong proponent of folks taking responsibility for their own behavior. I am a mental health and addictions counselor, as I am sure you know, and struggle with this issue with clients. They have every reason (excuse)under the sun "I'm sorry I am a lousy parent BUT my parents were horrible, I can't help it." "I know I shouldn't smoke crack but I can't help it, my life is horrible." I can't or won't move forward or make positive changes in my life becaues I was so traumatized." I have watched these people for years, making very little if any change. Some get worse as we, the mental health service providers, enable, support and thusly perpetuate their lack of responsibility for their own lives. Is Tiger one of them? Are they different from those who should be held responsible? I don't know.

Steve said...

Tim, thanks for your comments, especially about your weariness of people making excuses. I think it was Jeff Foxworthy in one of his routines who said, "Just once I'd like to hear somebody say,'My parents were great. My dad went to all my games. My mom was loving. They provided love and support. I'm just a ____head!!'" :)