Monday, September 25, 2006

All Apologies

I've always wanted to use a Kurt Cobain lyric to title a post. But seriously folks, what is up with the state of apologies these days? Steve G tackled this question over at the Baltimore Sun. In the course of analyzing the "apologies" of the Pope, Mel Gibson, George Allen and Comptroller of Maryland, William Donald Schaefer, Steve concludes:

When an apology only notes the suffering without taking full ownership of the act that caused the suffering, the apology can sound hollow, even if it is meant in all sincerity.

While Steve says this with eloquence and rigor, I think it just makes these folks jack asses. People who cannot sincerely apologize for what they have done wrong are weak; they cannot handle criticisms to the self. Only those who can take seriously that they are fallible, that they are sometimes moved by less noble motives, but who nonetheless want to become better people are capable of apologies.

I have had to apologize more times than I care to remember. And, believe me, my first instinct was to deny, minimize or deflect. When someone wiser than I showed me the path, that only through sincere apologies do you earn respect and keep your integrity, I bit the bullet.

Those who cannot apologize with the sincerity that Steve identifies are doomed to invest most of their energy into protecting their fragile ego. What a waste of a life.