I have a confession to make: I’ve never quite bought into the value of New Year’s resolutions. Seems that much of the time they serve as a predictable path to failure and self-blame: start grand and starry-eyed, then invariably feel lousy about not having lived up to your goals.
But last week, as we were trying to fix a techno glitch that made most of my blog posts over the past ten years disappear from our website, I came across an old one from 2007, titled ”The Art of Apologizing.” Reading it made me ponder: Why do we have such difficult apologizing? I mean, it should be really straightforward to just go to someone and offer a sincere and effective apology, right? It sure would help us enter the new year light-hearted and feeling good about ourselves!
But life is a tad more complicated than that, and we don’t always do what needs to be done. Perhaps the new year is a good time to reflect on this kind of stuff after all. So here are my top seven observations as to why we don’t offer an apology when one is in order:
- You don’t recognize that there was a problem in the first place
- You realize you weren’t perfect but don’t grasp the impact on the other person
- You’re held back by a sense of shame that makes you try to forget the whole thing
- You truly intend to apologize but when other things hog your time and attention, you forget
- You’re concerned that if you apologize you’ll make it worse
- You’re afraid that the other person will get defensive and/or aggressive
- Your good ol’ pride is getting the upper hand!
Allow me to ask: As you scan your relationships at work or home and realize that maybe you messed up somewhere (yup, you’re human), which of these reasons is currently holding you back from fixing something that should be fixed? And what could and should you do next?
Fee free to contact me anytime.