Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Art of Apology

As you know by now, I have high standards for both myself and the people I choose to have in my life. Much more for myself even than others - I feel I can only have high expectations of others if clearly, I would fill the same.

One of the most important thing to me, is someone being able to admit when they're wrong, and truly, genuinely apologize. Sometimes, they may have to prove themselves, if it's a severe wrong-doing and I need to reestablish my belief and trust in them. Most of the time, an apology that's completely honest and heart-felt will do. Let me say this, though: I feel that to genuinely be sorry, you have to at least attempt not to repeat the offending action. I say attempt because, for someone say that suffers from a bad anxiety or mood disorder and I understand that they may try their hardest, but whatever they did that upset me may happen again. I'm not saying it's an excuse, but I'm saying I understand that sometimes it's the effort that counts. But if the action is one that someone has complete control over, it means simply "don't do it again."

I myself am an over-apologizer. It's a bad habit I've developed over the years and it's one I'm trying to break. Why? Because I apologize for things I shouldn't - things that aren't my fault, things that I can't control. I can't, for instance, promise I won't be in a depressive state and be not my usual self. I understand if someone doesn't want to be around me in that state and I usually try to keep to myself, but I won't apologize for it because I truly cannot control when it will hit.

Simply put, here's what I expect from others, and myself as well:

  • Apologize when you've upset, hurt, insulted, or angered me in a way that was unnecessary and that you could have controlled if you'd been more thoughtful. 
  • Apologize if you've been selfish. If not, we'll probably part ways. I can't understand or respect selfishness as an overall or recurring character trait. 
  • Be the one to reach out, and don't gloss it over. Inviting me to happy hour after you've upset me isn't an apology. It's pretending nothing happened, and ignoring the pain you've caused me. 
  • Understand if I'm not my usual self for a bit. Just because I accept your apology doesn't mean I'm not still upset/hurt/angry. After all, remember I have to believe you mean it. Actions speak louder than words. 
  • Don't act wonderful for a few days and then go back to the actions that upset me. Actions, long term, speak louder than words ever will. 
Furthermore, as much as I'm an over-apologizer, there are some things I won't apologize for, and neither should you. 
  • Who I am. I'm a wonderful person, even if one with "issues". I love myself. You don't have to, but then you don't have to be in my life either. 
  • Demanding respect and appreciation. Everyone should. I won't apologize for deserving these. 
  • My condition. That would be like me apologizing for being short. I was born this way and I do the best I can with what I was given. I might apologize for things I do that upset you when in a bad state, but I will never, ever apologize for having cyclothymia. I wouldn't expect someone to apologize for having Cancer, or Asthma!  
  • Something I'm not sorry for. You can rest assured that if I apologize, I mean it. 
  • Defending myself.  Someone has to. Who better than me! 
  • Defending someone I care about. I'm incredibly protective of my friends and loved ones. 
So, I thought that today would be the perfect day to do one of two things (or both if you see fit): if you've upset someone and you're sorry, apologize. If you don't owe someone an apology, reach out to those people who have been there for you when you needed it, who've had your back and defended you, even if it's against yourself in a bad time, and say thank you! 

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