Happy 4th of July to my American followers! To everyone, I hope you’re having a beautiful day, wherever you may be.
Here’s a quick midday message before you rush into your afternoon.
Recently, I was having a day with the kids. I’m not talking a fun Saturday spent visiting different spots around the city. I’m talking about the kind of day where you’re wondering what asteroid collided with your living room when your back was turned because your children’s activities have destroyed it.
Nearing wit’s end, my oldest daughter bumped into her younger sister, and their near-slam dance routine sent cups of water flying across the carpet. I refrained from my best Hulk impersonation, kept the screaming to an acceptable level, and walked away to get paper towels to clean it up.
*Cue my fearful children following me.*
“We’resosorryIdidn’tmeanitit’sherfault!” Their excuses came tumbling over one another like Olympic gymnasts. I avoided eye contact with either of them for fear of incinerating them with my eyes. (Hey, this was the 3rd incident of the morning, and it was only 10:30 a.m.)
“I hear you both,” I started, walking back to the carpet to wipe up the mess. “but you being sorry doesn’t change things. Only your actions change things.”
Messing up is unavoidable. You can be excellent in life, but perfectionism is a trap. At some point, you’ll go left when right was the best choice, but c’est la vie. The only problem here is when your mistake involves someone else and you think an apology is all that’s required.
Just as we all have varying love languages that Dr. Gary Chapman brought to our attention, we all have apology languages as well. Some people can let bygones be far gone with a heartfelt acknowledgment of the offender’s wrongdoing. Others need a true conversation and an outline as to how you plan to atone for hurting them. Whatever the case, it’s worth it to find out what the other person needs and how the issue can be corrected.
Many personal and business relationships have looked like my living room on the day I mentioned: disheveled and in need of TLC. The point we have to remember, though, is that they can be repaired with communication, patience, and a willingness to salvage what’s important rather than fight over who’s right.
In short, a considerate apology is worth its weight in gold, but a change in behavior going forward? That’s platinum.
To The Journey,