Human relationships (be it familial, filial, congenial, romantic or professional) is an interesting albeit complex phenomenon. Inherent in them are contradictory aspects struggling for supremacy. Just as some parts struggle to keep the bond of a relationship, other parts ensure that they leave it fragmented. For instance, while traits like love, mutual understanding/respect, and empathy tend to foster cordial relationships, idiosyncrasies such as attitudinal problems, unwholesome behavioural patterns and a sense of distrust tend to breathe friction. In the words of Kienzle and Dare, each relationship nurtures a strength or weakness within an individual.
One of those things that projects the imperfection in humans and hamper cordial relationships is mistakes. I’ll define a mistake as an incorrect, unwise act or decision due to bad judgement or a lack of information or care. There’s a saying among my people that says no matter how hard a man tries, whenever he walks, he can’t help his head from shaking now and then.
Imagine that the world is a big school and everyone in it are pupils. Mistakes then will be likened to backpacks – every pupil straps his own. We all make our share of them – some trivial and others grievous. The interesting is mistakes are often not premeditated. Instead, they are mostly products of bad judgements calls.
Human interactions have never been a perfect one; it demands that we step on one another’s toes now and then. After all, even the teeth and the tongue do have their occasional issues. Since we are not all wired the same way, we are bound to speak, act or behave in a manner that will displease the other.
The father who has had a hectic day at work screams at his poor little girl who asks him a harmless question…the immediate boss at work reprimands his subordinate for a wrong he didn’t commit…the fiancée vents an anger caused by someone else on her fiancé…and the scenarios are endless. However, whatever the dynamic is, a wrong can always be overlooked/forgiven when the wrongdoer makes proper amend.
ATTACHED TO A PENCIL IS AN ERASER
Consider mistakes and redress from the point-of-view of the makers of the typical pencil. Consider the foresight they exhibited in making them. They knew that, in the course of using it for creative purposes, errors/mistakes are bound to occur. Hence, they fit an eraser right on top of it to clean them off. Such forward-thinking perspective concerning mundane things can also come to bear on the art of relationship, especially when it comes to tackling wrongs done to a person.
Except in extreme cases, we have the capacity to re-write any wrong/mistake. Interestingly, no antidote to wrongs does a better job than admittance to wrongdoing and a sincere apology.
THE WEIGHT OF AN APOLOGY
A wise man once said “it takes a big man to admit when he is wrong and even a bigger man to admit that another is right”. An apology is a statement expressing remorse for an action. To apologise is to acknowledge a wrongdoing or to take responsibility for a wrong done to another.
Rendering an apology is a face-saving act. The truth is in every ideal individual is a sense of self-esteem or dignity that he tries to protect. When he is wronged, there is a threat to that sense which makes him feel hurt. However, such threat is mitigated when genuine apologetic statements are offered. However, more importantly, a genuine apology is backed with the preparedness to do what is right going forward. While some interesting folk will view apologies as a sign of weakness, every right-thinking individual understandsits potency.
To apologise is to say sorry, i.e. express regret for an action that has upset another. Most times, an apology goes with the utterance of three simple yet powerful words “I am sorry”. Many relationships have been salvaged because the offending party apologised as at when due and in the right way while others have been severed because particular parties involved found it difficult to apologies. Some even made matters worse because of the manner in which they apologised.
APOLOGY MEANS RESPONSIBILITY
When a fellow apologises, he is taking responsibility for a fault and expressing his regrets. It’s therefore counteractive when certain speech and attitudinal factors betray the genuineness of the apology rendered. For instance, what’s the good in an apology rendered with an irritating/angry tone or with voice raised? J.A. Holmes is right when he opines that 90% of the friction of daily life is caused by the wrong tone of voice.
What’s more, apology and amends are like Siamese twins; they go hand in hand. There is no point apologising for an action one will keep repeating. A sincere apology will imply shying away from whatever upsets another. For example, if I apologise to you after saying something rude to you, my apologies should also imply that I won’t say such rude words to you in the future. It’s then that my apology will make sense and bring about the required change.
YOU WANT IT TO BLOSSOM? NURTURE IT!
Human relationships can be likened to a tender flower. If you don’t want it to wither, you have to nurture it. Since mutual affection is a basis for its survival, one has to ensure that it sustained. Consequently, the ability to sustain it is hinged on having the right set of attitudes. One of those attitudes is the ability to render a sincere apology as at when due and ensure that the mistake for which one apologises doesn’t keep repeating itself.