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I’m Sorry

July 23, 2010

As a child, I never thought it was okay to make mistakes. I always wanted to be “right” and “perfect” and never making a mistake, EVER. This was because my peers were harsh toward a person who’d made a mistake. That person was harassed, made fun of, teased and laughed at on the playground. Looking back on it, I’m pretty sure some of those instances were just friends playfully teasing each other, and it wasn’t just a cruel dig toward that person who had made the mistake. But through my young eyes, way back when, I had gained some fear in making a mistake and being laughed at for it. :-/

So, when I had made an error or hurt someone’s feelings, I was quick to defend it and argue on how I was right about it. The fear that I had made a mistake took over and, instead of apologizing, I alienated a few people by arguing on how they shouldn’t have been hurt by what I had said or did. Therefore those few people, who could have been my friends growing up, left me alone… and for good reason! It was my own mistake and immaturity, I fault no one but myself for that. :-p

Fortunately, I GREW UP and became more mature, by the time I turned 12 years old. I had realized that I am human and I make mistakes… sometimes a LOT of mistakes! And since age 12, I’ve had no trouble in admitting when I’ve done wrong or have said something wrong. I don’t have an issue with saying, “I’m sorry!”, and meaning it too! I’ve long learned that just because something wouldn’t hurt my feelings, but it hurt someone else’s feelings, doesn’t mean that I have the right to say or do it. For example:  A person calling me the color pink doesn’t bother me, but it does hurt Joe. If I call Joe “pink” and he gets hurt and upset, I shouldn’t yell, “Well, I don’t mind being called pink! So, you shouldn’t mind it either!” I should just apologize and be sorry for hurting Joe’s feelings, and make a mental note to never call him “pink” again.

When a person gets defensive and argues about what a person should feel or not, they are really double-victimizing that other person. Not only have you hurt the feelings of someone, but now you’re slapping them again, by arguing that their feelings or emotions are invalid also. :-(

The MATURE and adult thing to do, when hurting someone’s feelings is to apologize, to mean it, and own up to the mistake. Yes, unless you sought out to make the person upset or hurt their feelings on purpose, you’ve only made a mistake! Relax and breath, it’s not the end of the world only because you’ve made an error… unless that error was to push the huge red button that will destroy the world. :-p

Own up to your mistake and APOLOGIZE. And really mean it, even if you can’t understand why calling Joe “pink” would get him so upset. It’s not for you to understand why calling him that color would upset him. What you are to realize is that it DOES upset him (this is the only fact that matters) and that you shouldn’t call him pink anymore or ever again.

So a mature response would be, “I’m sorry, Joe. I didn’t know that would hurt your feelings. I won’t say it anymore.” And then, both of you can move on.  An immature and childish way to respond would be, “I don’t understand why you would get upset with me calling you the color pink. It doesn’t bother me, so it shouldn’t bother you. Are you sure you’re not too sensitive? Blah, blah, blah…”

Let’s face it, the latter response is that of children, not of mature adults. And I should know, as I responded just like that, when I was under the age of 12!

And for those who get their feelings hurt, by this post, “I’m sorry.” That wasn’t my intent and this will be my last post on the subject, so don’t worry. But for others who didn’t get their feelings hurt, because they have no issue with apologizing or owning up with their mistakes… Or for those who’ve realized they must grow up a little… good on you! Then my rant actually means something. ;-)

I write this one, because so many have responded to hurting my feelings in immature ways. Instead of saying that they are sorry, or to offer to never say it again, they get defensive and try to argue that my feelings are invalid  or that I’m over-sensitive.. Maybe I am extra sensitive, who knows? But in spite of that, I still deserve an apology and a promise that what was said (or did) will not be repeated.

I do have a true friend who had no issue in apologizing and so on. And I am the same, having no issues of apologizing and owning up to my mistakes against him. Nobody’s perfect and mistakes are bound to happen! But, it’s only a very BAD thing, when excuses are made and a person gets defensive, instead of apologetic. In the long run, it’s much easier and better to own up to a mistake and apologize for it, rather than push people away. When you double-victimize and refuse to admit an mistake, you’re just asking others to avoid you altogether.

-D

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