December 2, 2008

Sincerely sorry

I have post where I expounded my theory that one is not to feel sorry, for that means regretting a choice one has made. When there is a point in life, where one does regret the choices that one has made, is it better to apologize to the person concerned?

I asked this question to Suchitra over an SMS and I will paraphrase, without her consent of course. 

"Which is better? To apologize for a mistake very old or to let it go, for it was so so long ago?"

The reply received was, "It depends. I guess on what complications digging up the past can bring against what good an apology can do, repair a relationship may be. Sometimes, I think that an apology is transfer of responsibility, but at least you have the satisfaction of being honest with yourself."

I kind of like the last lines. The apology is transfer of responsibility, a transfer of guilt. When I apologize, I am relieved of the pain that caused me to want to apologize. It is now the prerogative of the other person to forgive me or not. At least my conscience is clean. 

However, I am not sure if this is being honest. It seems to be more of cowardice than anything else for the reason that by apologizing I am saying in not so many words that I do not want to go on regretting what I did. Therefore, I am apologizing for the effect my choice, if it were a choice has on you. Now forgive me, or not, it does not matter for the moment I have let you know that I am sorry; my soul has been freed from the clutches of guilt. 

We are honest when we accept that the choice was wrong and that someone was hurt by it. Not when we go a transfer the responsibility in the mess to the person who was already wronged. The best thing we can do is regret it, to ourselves, keep it to ourselves and try to ensure that the regret is not repeated. To accept that one was wrong is honest. To rid of it because it caused pain is more like cowardice, the inability be true to yourself and the choices one has made. 

I am sorry, 
That I was foolish
In my choices
But, it is my secret
For my sin in life
Is my sin alone, 
I will be brave, 
I will be strong, 
For my weight to carry
I will not spread
Among people
People I already wronged

18 comments:

Destination Infinity said...

The point of accepting a fault done by us, requires courage and integrity. Now when we apologise, we accept to ourselves as much as to the other person. Whether the relationship becomes better or not, it will help us avoid making such mistakes in future.

aditya said...

@DI
There are two things that one aims to achieve by apologizing. One is what you mentioned, the avoidance of mistakes in the future. The other, more importantly from a personal psyche perspective, is absolution from what we ourselves consider was a wrong act. The weight of regret that someone has for ill actions committed and the freedom from that weight can be as lightening as the wisdom to avoid future mistakes.
I would still say, accept the mistake to yourself, and move on.

Suchitra said...

Sorry, I am
That I have let down, me
Sorry, with you
So that to you, I be true
Sorry, an admission
The worst of me, shared
Sorry, the truth
So that nothing’s left unbared

Sorry, my guilt
My gift, to thee
Sorry, I say
For I want relief
Sorry, an excuse
A quick way out
For truths are barren
And hurt cannot patch hurt

Sorry, then, a compromise
Between truth and hypocrisy
I stay true to me, and lie to thee
And is that true to me?
Or I bare all,
An ode to truth
Praying for strength
To bear the burden of two

aditya said...

@ Suchi
Today morning, my father expounded a three stage sorry,
political, without any actual regret, wherein one is being politically correct,
Namesake, where in there is nothing to apologize, but we do for that is defuses the situation
Sincere, where in we feel and therefore apologize.
The first two are superfluous, but the last makes sense, however, it still does not...

Rajaraman said...

To quote the most recent example of Kerala CM finally saying sorry having called Maj sandeep's father equivant of a dog though not exactly.
What some time say to children to
take their food or go to sleep etc etc they are done without any meaning.
Once I beat this author when he was very young because he was demanding something which I cant give him. More and more he became demanding more and more I was becoming helpless.
As a matter of strategy I need to slap him.
For three day I did not sleep and could not do anything. I kept repeating to myself sorry , sorry.
I was hell for .
How do categorise that.

Prats said...

I like and agree to what Suchitra said regarding apologies.

I always believe that apologies or silence should be used in discretion with an objective the relationships should survive.

Destination Infinity said...

If you are talking about the conscience, I feel that if a person has done something he knows is wrong, it will take a lot of time for him to accept (even to himself) that it was wrong. Some times -years. He would try convincing others (and hence himself) that what he did was right.

If you accept the mistake to yourself, and move on, there is a very good chance that you would do it again.

aditya said...

@ Prats
The question that I have for you is very simple. If the act that you commit is so hazardous that it can destroy a relationship and you know it; despite this knowledge, you have gone ahead and done it, why do you want the relationship to survive post the action? Does the fact that the action was done not mean that you actually do not want the relationship to survive?

@DI
I am not sure if there is something called repeating a mistake. For the sole reason that if I am to personally gain from something, I would do it no matter what. And given that no two situations are the same, no two actions can be the same, for the situation demanding those actions, which could involve the same series of events, is not the same.

To simplify:
1) No two situations are the same
2) Each situation needs a particular action
3) Two actions have the same course of events
4) But they arose at different situations
5) Therefore, no two actions are the same

Prats said...

@Aditya
Hmmm quite a point, but I have a belief here, to which you might choose to disagree. Apologies & Mistakes go together. You apologies for the things you did unknowingly or underestimating the consequences of it. But when you do something in full awareness of consequences, its a crime or sin whatever you call it. You seek forgiveness for the crime or the sin.

Now they might sound the same thing, but an Apology for me is the act between two people. Conveying and acceptance is equally important in an Apology. But when you seek forgiveness its because of a sense of your own guilt/conscience and the act of acceptance is far more important than act of seeking.

I don't know if it makes sense, but I would say one can not apologies in your situation or rather would not as whatever he has done, he has done knowingly. However, if he does he would seek forgiveness and that would be the effect of his own conscience and guilt condemning his own acts.

Rakesh Vanamali said...

I'd say that its never too late to apologize. Whilst relieving one from a huge burden, an apology can also help mend broken fences!

It takes some amount of courage and sincerity to offer an honest apology!

And then, a timely apology can strengthen a relationship!

Well written mate! Blogrolling you!

Cheers

Rakesh

aditya said...

@ Prats
If I understand correctly, what you are telling me is that if I am in the complete know that my action is going to hurt someone, then I cannot apologize? However, by using sorry, all I am doing is asking forgiveness for the crime.
I do acknowledge your belief. However, I have only one more question. Why is it when you, being in complete awareness of that action and the fact that it was going to harm someone, went on to do that action, need to be forgiven? If my understanding is correct, the action means that you value the outcome of the action more than the person and their feelings. If you then go and ask for forgiveness post this, are you not belittling your own action? I think this is exactly what I asked before. If your answer is the same as before, ignore the question.
By using belief, you have negated whatever I can throw at you, for I am trying to reason here and you have taken it to a place where reason fails. Faith.

@Rakesh
Let me first welcome you to my blog. It is good to have people who are interested in a conversation.

I will not disagree with anything that you said. A sorry can mend fences, can strengthen a relationship, and can do a lot of good. But, all I am concerned is the harm it does to you. My firm understanding is that every time you say sorry, you are putting yourself down in your own eyes. Is that worth the effort is all I am asking.

Prats said...

@Aditya
The question this time you have asked here is a bit different. So my take on this is, Actions are governed by a set of emotions and reasons and some other factors lets collectively call them all as vested interests. So here I see how the reasoning goes-

1- You take an action because your vested interests in taking the action exceeds in keeping the relationship or may be not hurting the other person. So you go ahead and do the action.

2- Now when you have done the action there might be two cases-

Either you have achieved what you wanted to now your vested interests have been fulfilled and it makes a lot of sense to say sorry and salvage the relationship from the hurt and damage.

Or in the hindsight you feel the sense of guilt to an extent for your action that it becomes painful for you. Now the vested interest of you is to get rid of the guilt and an Apology is the first step towards it

Rakesh Vanamali said...

Adi (if I may call you so, that is)

Everytime one tenders an apology, one loses face! Well, is that worse (or better) than the fact that one loses credibility and boasts ego out of not apologizing for what one has done?

Why apologize unless a very concrete need to do so? Correct?

Suchitra said...

Aditya and others,

I think this post of mine would be pertinent to the discussion at hand, since I find that I have summarized my views very well there. Cheers!

Destination Infinity said...

@Suchitra: The comments section at N-Series is not open I guess.... Where do we put the comments?

Destination Infinity

aditya said...

@ Prats,
We have never argued that Sorry is vested interest. If I remember correctly, I did mention that from my random ponderings with Suchi, we understood that Sorry is just transfer of blame, a method of wiping the slate clean. The question that I had asked and still do is that the general meaning of sorry is to be devoid of self interest. It is portrayed as being selfless. Just was questioning that. Again, Suchitra's and my thoughts are already at N Series


@ Rakesh
Please refer to one of my previous posts, what is in a name? call me what you will...

I have a question to ask you. Unless I know what you hold more sacred, your crediblity to yourself, or your credibility to the world, you in your eyes, or you in other's eyes, there is no point in the discussion.

I do not understand the boasts ego part. Could you elucidate? If my understanding is correct, I comprehend it as when one does not apologize, he is classified as egoistic. Is this what you are coming to say? Please confirm and I will see if I can explain my PoV.

@DI,
I have already tended to your comment by mail.

Rajaraman said...

To conclude all the aurguments, I wish to categorise them only into two. One really sorry for the incnvenience or pain caused unintentionally or inadvertantly .
All others can be only political or for the sake of convenience without conviction.

aditya said...

@Rajaraman
This is not a debate, this is a discussion. There is not right, wrong, no good bad, there is nothing and everything. It is just opinions.
Let it go on if it has to.