Monday Morning Quotes

Monday Morning Quotes ~
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Since 1998 I've been sending out these reflections first thing each week--one or more quotes plus my thoughts about the intersections and contradictions. They're archived here back to 2002, and a new one is posted every Monday morning. Dialogue is still welcome . . .

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Quote #1138 - #SorryForWhat

10 Jun, 2024


"We've all done things we aren't proud of. I understand that. I know nobody's perfect. But how do you live with it? How do you get up every morning and face the world knowing you could have done better, that you should have done better? Is being sorry enough? Can an apology actually heal our wounds, ease our pain? Can you undo the hurt that you've caused?"
Stacy McKee
“Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word”

"An apology is the superglue of life. It can repair just about anything."
Lynn Johnston

"Pride and ego make a mockery of an apology."
T. F. Hodge

Today 45 meets with his probation officer, and how much accountability he takes for his actions, and how much remorse he feels, will factor into his sentencing. It's almost absurd. Accountability? Remorse? Him??!?? I don't think so. We know him only to have said "I'm sorry" once--and he quickly took it back, and justified (as usual) what he had done.

"I'm sorry"--like "I love you"--like many phrases--means more than one thing, even on its surface. So people get confused what they're saying and what they're hearing when the words "I'm sorry" are spoken. My ex-husband and I used to separate the commiserations from the apologies (until there were way too many apologies and too little to commiserate about).

But even when you're clear which kind of "sorry" is in play, the words of an apology only mean what they are invested with. "I'm sorry" is the vessel. What's inside the "sorry" container makes all the difference. How much taking of responsibility for both the intended and unintended consequences? How much care for the damage caused? And where will it lead? Will it be any different next time, or is this just one in a long string of care-lessness, damage, and apologies?

When I apologize, I try to make my understanding, my responsibility, and my intention clear. Even if the follow-through is not completely consistent, the exposing itself with no excuses at least gives me--gives us--a chance.

Which is why the first words from me when someone apologizes, often, is, "For what?" That is the only way the unraveling of accountability, empathy, complicity, and commitment to revision can begin.

Shellen Lubin
June 10, 2024

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