As I was drinking my morning coffee I heard a piece of an interview with author Kelly Corrigan. She was discussing her new book (which I am going to go buy tonight) called, Tell Me More: Stories About The 12 Hardest Things I’m Learning To Say.
A review I read said this: “A story-driven collection of essays on the twelve powerful phrases we use to sustain our relationships.”
The part of the interview I heard was about the phrase “I’m Sorry vs. I Was Wrong.” Quite a powerful difference isn’t it? Think about yourself saying either of those phrases and how it makes you feel when you say it. Then, think about how the person to whom you say it might feel. Powerful. It really intrigued me.
People say “I’m sorry” so much, I wonder if it means much. Think about it…sometimes you even say “sorry” to inanimate objects …come on you know you do…bang into a chair or a door and sometimes “sorry” pops out of your mouth. Late for something…”sorry.” Say something that may hurt….“sorry.” Are we really sorry or is that a route response that satisfies us more than the aggrieved party?
Now juxtapose that with “I was wrong.” That is a whole other story isn’t it? This takes ownership and requires introspection to say. It takes courage and accountability to stand before someone, look him or her in the eye and say, “I was wrong” and if appropriate, ask for forgiveness vs. simply saying “sorry.”
So funny how we go through days and say things that are simply part of our every day vernacular and don’t ever examine the statements. I love stuff like this….I can’t wait to read the book and look internally and be aware of other things we say within our relationships that we just take for granted. This simple conversation has really influenced me in looking at what I say and how someone else perceives it.
Another phrase that gets used a lot is “don’t take it personally.” I have always been intrigued with that statement. Should you take something some random stranger says on social media personally? No…they don’t know you or you them. [The whole social media thing and likes, vs. views, vs. real vs. bought etc. is a whole other conversation.] Please do not base any sense of value on any of that!
However – I think life is personal, I think relationships (no matter what level they are on) are personal. Saying something hurtful or doing something unkind and then telling someone not to take it personally, I think is hooey. I think it makes the person saying it feel better and maybe absolves themselves of accountability in their mind – telling someone not to take it personally simply demeans their feelings. You don’t have to agree with how they feel or how they received your words or actions…but at the very least, we should respect where they are.
Don’t take it personally, or you took it personally or you shouldn’t have taken it personally – takes no courage – it simply deflects. Perhaps talking to the person who took it personally and asking a few simple, but kind questions is better. “Tell me why this upset you,” or “how can I make this right,” or “you are important to me and my intent was not hurtful, help me understand.” In this case you are acknowledging the other person’s feelings (whether you agree or not), you are giving value to those feelings and making clear that individual means something to you and you want to resolve the issue. I honestly believe sometimes being kind and valuing someone that we value is so much more important than being right or making a point.
We all do and say things that we wish we didn’t. Heat of moment, human frailty, bad day…whatever it is. We all have stuff. But if we care for each other even a little, that should be OK. We need to be more forgiving of each other and ourselves, quite frankly.
Consistently bad or disrespectful behavior….NO. Human screw-ups now and then….bad spells, needy moments….of course.
Let’s just own our stuff, be accountable and honest and when we are wrong…say “I was wrong.” What a courageous moment!
Take care of you, and I wish you today, as in all days, a good day.