As humans we are far from perfect beings. We each make mistakes and don’t do what we say and say what we mean all the time. Thankfully, we are capable of giving and receiving apologies. Some of us use this ability, while others…not so much. Even though I have plenty of self-confidence, I’m not so full of myself that I think I’m always right. Accept your mistakes, learn from them, apologize to those you hurt and move on.
This past week, I woke up one morning to extremely disappointing news. I had grand plans for the finale of a project I’ve put my heart and soul into for a long time and I learned it wouldn’t work out as I had hoped. A few minutes later I received a note via Twitter direct message from a friend in which they pushed a hot button of mine. They were simply asking about something they may have felt was innocuous and in what they thought was a measured way. I looked at the note and perhaps due to my disappointment from just an hour earlier, I didn’t actually read it. As mentioned, the note was about a topic that is one of my hot buttons right now and I saw red. I flipped out, essentially told the friend to screw off and went so far as to block them from my Twitter accounts.
Over the next few minutes I received a text from the friend saying they meant no harm and they were shocked by my reaction. I took a few minutes, caught my breath, talked about the situation with another friend and did something many people have a hard time doing, I apologized and admitted I was wrong. My note explained the misdirection of my disappointment into anger at them and that I had completely overreacted. Thankfully, my friend was understanding and is now trying to help me with this hot button issue (more on this in a future post) that means a lot to me. Don’t be afraid to “say I’m sorry,” it doesn’t make you weak it makes you smart.
Scott Adams, best known for creating a comic strip, wrote about why our nation’s President should continue to avoid apologies for today’s New York Post. I couldn’t disagree more. One of the reasons given is that Al Franken had to make multiple apologies as more allegations of his salacious behavior surfaced and with each apology, they started to mean less. Well, perhaps you should fully come clean when you apologize to avoid such situations, but I’d have a whole lot more respect for politicians who could admit they are wrong and apologize for transgressions.
On a more music-related level The String Cheese Incident drummer Michael Travis said some wildly misinformed things about Jews. His comments came in the middle of a Facebook thread with his friends. At first Travis continued on with his stream of ignorance, but as other Facebook users weighed in and set him straight it appeared Michael learned the error of his ways. He apologized multiple times and at multiple places including some, where the general public couldn’t see. I felt his embarrassment, his acknowledgment of his own ignorance and his quest to become better educated. There is a tendency among us to think, “Oh, well he just wanted to save his own hide and not get kicked out of the band” yet the ways and the manner in which he apologized made he feel he was sincere. As I said when we started, we’re all human and make mistakes. It’s how we deal with those mistakes and learn from them that help guide us moving forward. The world would be a better place if some among us weren’t so scared of being wrong.