Apologies and Forgiveness

We all make various mistakes in different phases of our lives, and should understand that others do likewise.

Mistakes, accidents, and faulty arguments are common. Sometimes people want to deny fault because of their ego, they are too status conscious and don't want to lose face and be wrong, and may want to blame somebody else. It's better to recognize when you are wrong, apologize, ask for forgiveness, and try to learn from it to improve yourself, as well as to do the right thing in the world.

Of course, with your wife or husband, this is very important for a good marriage. When you have an argument, if you are wrong, then it's better to not just stay quiet when you are wrong, but to acknowledge you are wrong and apologize, as soon as you can.

It's also too easy to go along with your peer group or "in" group when there is wrong groupthink, because you might risk losing your status in that group if you don't conform, including in both professional and just social circles. However, it's better to not conform, and live with regrets later.

As a simple example, when I was very young, I was sometimes bullied by another kid or group. Later, sometimes I didn't stop a friend or peer group from bullying someone else, even though I already knew what it felt like to be bullied. I didn't want to bully anybody else and I felt bad about my friends doing it, but it was just what some friends or my small peer group did occasionally, and I didn't want to try to stop them and then maybe be made fun of myself. I was wrong. Staying quiet is not right. I wish I had spoken up, even if it got me ostracized from the group. I should switch friends. I wish I could have apologized to the victims and said some good things to them.

Sometimes, it's important to set a good example. For example, if I argue with somebody, then later think I was wrong, and go back to correct myself and apologize, then they might be more likely to do the same to others in the future.

The ego/status instinct sometimes makes us not want to admit we are wrong and lose face, but I admire people who have the courage to do the right thing in the world for intellectual reasons, beyond their own emotional selfish interests.

(In business, I have been tricked or ripped off many times, but I don't trick nor rip off others, even though it means making less money, and even though tricky sales is so common. I don't expect any requests for apologies from many business people who tricked me or ripped me off, but if I ever hear an apology from any of them, then I would be appreciative.)

When people sincerely regret something they have done which has negatively affected me, then I want to forgive them to relieve them and move into the future positively.

Forgiveness is not the same as forgetting. We remember in order to learn from our mistakes. We must reprogram our minds, so that mistakes are not repeated.

Unfortunately, we live in a world with a lot of vicious people who like stimulation and get satisfaction from attacking others and putting people down. What can we do to try to get these people to change? Which ones might change?

This is magnified on the internet, where people compete for attention by resorting to provocative language and being more extreme than others, and can so easily type to a screen things they wouldn't say to somebody's face. It is really bad karma, but there are many simplistic people who get energy from such negativity, and are oblivious to better states of existence. Others may feed off of that and push things further.

Don't feed the trolls!

However, sometimes people are "reachable" and we can try to appeal to their better side.

Of course, to deserve forgiveness, the regret must be sincere, the person should understand clearly why they were wrong, they should resolve to never do it again, and they should show measures of reprogramming their mind or behaviors.

Others should be open to receiving apologies.

There are some things which I have done in my life and which I regretted, especially when I was young. Sometimes I would get up the guts to go apologize. Sometimes the apology was accepted well, sometimes it was accepted grudgingly, and sometimes it was outright rejected with hostility. In the latter case, I feel bad, but I know that at least I tried to do my best to try to right a wrong. I also feel sorry for the people who won't forgive a sincere apology, and who hold grudges.

I wish I could find and go back to some people and apologize. I have a relatively very good memory, as many people have commented about, which I attribute to my longtime health food diet, exercise regimen, and sleep schedules. I am surprised how many times I have been reminded of something in the past which I hadn't thought about for decades, but which something in current times reminded me of.

I have long disallowed myself to forget unpleasant things or rationalize them away like I have seen other people do. It's not as pleasant as forgetting or rationalizing something away, but I think that I learn a lot of lessons in life. Of course, if there's nothing I can do about something, then it's best not to obsess over it for very long, and better to let go and move on. It's mainly about "live and learn" rather than "forget and don't learn".

Sometimes I didn't do something wrong, technically, but I should have helped somebody when I did not. I should not have just kept quiet and not done anything. I should have stepped in and tried to help.

It's part of the human experience, which is interesting and important to understand.

In the same way, I guess that a lot of people who said or did bad things to me would want to do likewise, i.e., apologize to me. I can remember countless bad things other people have said and done to me. I would hereby welcome any apologies. I would be positively encouraged about my fellow human beings.

The good and kind things I have done in the world vastly outweigh the things I would like to apologize for, and as I've gotten older, more experienced, and wiser, the regrettable things have become few and far between. In recent years, it's been more shortfalls in performance, such as when an event has passed and upon second thought, I think I should have handled it differently and in a better way.

We can try to do our best, but sometimes we still falter at the moment, and the event passes. Sometimes we need to apologize to ourselves, too, try to learn from experiences, and try to reprogram our minds to do better in similar situations in the future.

  mark-prado.com > Ethics, Experiences > Apologies and Forgiveness

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