Sorry and Apology

I’m sorry and I apologize are two very overused phrases.  

When I worked at United Parcel Service as a part-time package handler, I worked with a bunch of young married guys.  They all said it was a lot easier to say sorry later rather than ask for permission before hand.  This has always stuck with me and bugged me a bit.  

It was beliefs like above that made me not believe in the value of being sorry or apologizing.

Recently though, I had an opportunity to apologize to someone after a series of events that occurred about 5 years ago and because of this apology I learned a few things.

If you feel guilty or bad when you say sorry, it’s not really an apology.  You aren’t taking responsibility for your actions, you are feeling guilty or bad.  

If you say sorry and continue to do the action over and over, you are not apologizing and you aren’t taking responsibility for your actions or you aren’t aware of what precedes your actions.  It’s like your sorry is a reset button.  

If you say sorry because you want the other person to settle down, or you want to avoid further confrontation, then it’s probably not a true apology.

If you are expecting the other person to accept your apology, then it’s probably not a true apology.

If your apology sets you free, you can bet it is genuine and that you were really ready to say it.  

I was finally able to say, hey, I betrayed you.  My actions were unacceptable, I did do them, I can’t change them or take them back and I know I had a huge effect on you.  It took the same things happening to me to realize what I had originally done.  It was powerful to take responsibility for my actions and it was powerful to know that I had learned from them.  

In the ring, there isn’t any room for apology.  It’s an insult to your opponent/sparring partner if you are apologizing to them when you punch.  When you hold back, worry, try not to hit hard, or any variation of these things, they are forms of a non genuine apology.  You aren’t respecting the person’s ability in the ring or the fact that they agreed to get in there with you and express their own form of bravery and skill.   

I’ve learned the above a lot from my sparring experiences.  Apologetic punches feel awful to deliver and to receive.  They don’t recognize everyone’s commitment nor do they respect the warrior in each of us.





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