(banana after the freeze)
Begin the new year square with every man.
Robert B. Thomas
founder of The Old Farmer's Almanac
It's never too late to apologize.
Lately, I've been doing a lot of life review in my head. Sometimes I recall events...moments...things I have done or said that make me cringe. I wish I had behaved differently. I didn't.
Saying that I did the best I could at the time might be true. That's not enough. My "best" isn't always good enough. Of course, I can't go back and change anything. I can move forward. I can acknowledge my crankiness or faux pas or...whatever I did and said that didn't meet my standards in review.
I look at the situation. Did I cause someone else pain or distress? Did I act like an ass?
I apologize. Simply, "I'm sorry." I tell the person that I can talk with them about it in more depth if they want. If they want to know why I behaved the way I did, I will tell them. The apology, however, is not intended as an opportunity for me to defend myself. My desire is to acknowledge my bad behavior and say I am sorry. In some cases, giving the reason for bad behavior comes across as an effort to justify. The truth is, most often "why" doesn't matter.
Twelve step programs know this. Step 9: "Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others."
What constitutes injury? I am sure that is up for debate. My general rule is that if my apology will make the other person uncomfortable that, too, can be considered injury. If it makes me uncomfortable...that's tough. I still move forward and say what needs to be said. Some people want to move forward and an apology simply brings up awkwardness. I try to respect that.
Lately, I've apologized for bad behaviors that are 40 years old and only a few months old. Was that necessary? Yes. Because those things were rattling around in my head and I needed to acknowledge that I screwed up...and that I am continuing my process of self-improvement.
Humble pie is really good when it is served to the right people.