October 20, 2016 by JImbo
Have we forgotten how to say we’re sorry?
Sarcasm doesn’t help.
Neither does blame.
Unfortunately, that seems to be what our modern society is based on.
Many of us never learned HOW to apologize to one another.
Maybe that’s why we are so divided as a country.
For those who never learned this procedure properly, there are actually four ways to deal with breaks in our relationships. Not all of them are “apologies”. They are however all “making up” in that they deal with the problem.
The first two are true apologies. They are “mea culpas” in the literal sense… “my fault” in Latin. That is where the word “culpability” comes from.
The first healing method is a full apology. This is where you take all of the responsibility for the break. It doesn’t mean you deserve all the blame. It doesn’t even mean you take on the source of the original problem. It means that you take on the blame for letting it cause a break in the relationship.
Example: “It was all my fault. I’m sorry.”
The second method is the partial apology. You are still at blame, but the other party is as well. Again, it may or may not be technically true. It is a method of dealing with a problem in a relationship.
Example: “I think we can agree we both did some things we aren’t proud of. “
With this method, the blame may or may not be on the other harmed party. The blame may be put on a third party as well. However, it is less effective if there is not at least some onus put on the two people in the relationship. Otherwise, it is simply scapegoating a third party and avoiding the underlying issue.
In addition, it helps a relationship grow to find SOME fault on both sides. The fault doesn’t need to be equal. However, simply making the attempt to share the blame unites the partners in a relationship. It shows a willingness to sacrifice for the relationship and be aware of potentially hurtful things to look out for in the future.
The third method is simple conciliation. This is where neither party is “wrong.” There was a miscommunication or we failed to see one another’s perspective. Note that scapegoating a third party to blame is not conciliation, as that still involves blaming someone. Conciliation is the absence of blame and the search for better understanding.
Example: “You hate rap music? I hate rap music too! Why did we both think the other one was making us suffer through it?”
The final method is annulment or forgetting about it. “Burying the hatchet” so to speak. The event simply didn’t happen. There is no blame. There is no discussion. It just didn’t happen. This is less than ideal, but sometimes the events are too painful or awkward to deal with. The underlying issues may or may not remain, but it may be impossible to reach a better conclusion at the time.
Example: “This never happened. Deal?”
The key with all of them is to be sincere.
Otherwise, it doesn’t really matter what you say.
We may all need to do a few mea culpas in the near future because Trump or Clinton are going to be president, and we’ve all said a few things we aren’t proud of, and either one is guaranteed to be a trash fire once in office.
Mea culpas all around?