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I don’t know about you but, I do the same thing at the end of every year!  Unfortunately, this includes waxing a little sad.  You see, it’s that time again.  It’s time for me to review the outgoing year, with as much honesty as I can muster!!  From the negative to the positive, I try to take an objective look in my mirror and assess what I have accomplished, who I have hurt, what I could have done better, etc!!

Yes, I said “try” because all you can do is try.  Mind you, I don’t beat up on myself or anything like that.  But, if I am minimally honest, I normally need to issue at least two to three apologies!

With any luck, the recipients will be unreachable!  LOL!

In the event that they are reachable, I contact them and just get it over with as quickly as possible.

Admittedly, apologies don’t come easy for me.  I guess if we are even remotely honest, not many people like to apologize.  We’d rather be the recipient of an apology.  However, I have found out it can be very medicinal, humbling and cleansing to your soul.

I try to tread lightly since I never know how the recipient of my apology is going to respond. Sometimes, the recipient didn’t even anticipate an apology from me at all.  Sometimes, I have to remind the individual of what happened and why I am apologizing—which somewhat diminishes either my remaining guilt or the impact of the groveling.  Other times, they are extremely grateful because I took the lead.  Occasionally, my apology is not accepted.

Sometimes, the individual I contact owes me an apology too.  Sometimes—if I’m very lucky—they reciprocate.  Sometimes—more often than not—they don’t.   Sometimes a friendship is saved.  Sometimes, a relationship is lost.  Whatever the outcome, I try to remember that I am only responsible for my half of any relationship.

So, I do it.  I apologize.  I do this not because I am a martyr, but because I just gotta be happy with myself.  I guess my reasons for apologizing are somewhat selfish.  You see, I gotta be able to respect who I am.  I gotta be able to close out yet another year without dragging the old year into the new one.  I gotta be able to close out the year without further ado and without regrets.

At the end of the day, I wanna be able to look in that mirror—gotta be able to look into that mirror—so, at the very least, I can review the coming year with less and less to apologize for.  Maybe next year, I’ll be calling just to say Hello!

Can anybody hear me?

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Why is it that people who embarrass you publicly, only wish to apologize privately!!  And, that’s if they decide to apologize at all.  The apology should fit the setting of the offense.  If the offense was private — between just the offender and the offended — then the apology can be private.  However, when someone has attempted to publicly humiliate and degrade someone, then surely they must see the need for an apology that is just as animated and public.

Many people ascribe to just letting time pass and not apologizing at all.  They wait a couple of days, months or even years and then just show up or start calling, texting, or emailing out of the blue.  That alone shows a profound lack of empathy.  The offender clearly knows that they have done something wrong.  But rather than attempt to apologize and/or make amends, they prefer to wait for you to forget what they’ve done.  Worse still, if you don’t reciprocate, or rather don’t reciprocate in the manner in which they think you should, they make you out to be the bad guy, who is bitter and unforgiving.

Next, we have the reciprocal apologizers.  These are the people who will offend you and then apologize for it…but want you to return an apology to them, regardless of whether you’ve done anything to apologize for.  I call this a 50/50, shared blame apology.  Don’t misunderstand.  Sometimes a shared apology is necessary.  Nevertheless, in the majority of situations where it is asked for, a shared apology is simply not called for.  Often, it is the clear offender who wants to utilize this apology…as a way to “make things even” somehow.

Then, there is the forgetful offender. You know, the one that doesn’t quite remember offending you or who seems surprised that you were offended in the first place.  They infer from your taking offense that you are overly-sensitive and/petty.  This offender, to add insult to injury, does not mind telling you so publicly or privately, which leads us right back to the beginning.

The thing that many offenders fail to realize is that none of these apologies accomplish anything because none of them are real.  They are lackluster at best and hollow at worst.  A real, genuine apology is the only one that really works.  I say, be as quick to apologize as you are to offend.  I call this 50/50 shared responsibility.  Can anybody hear me?