Apologising has become such a dirty word as if it’s ingrained in us to fight to the very last than admit we have been wrong. There’s this pervasive feeling that when we expose our flaws to people who see them, or even admit to ourselves that we see them, that we will be hung, drawn and quartered for our admission. Fuck that. The truth is that eating humble pie is brave and necessary for our own growth. Before we can begin to take steps into the light of virtue, we must first accept our own vice.
The Catholics have been doing this for nearly 2000 years in the form of confessional. Personally, for me, this is a flawed concept. While confessing in sins and passing them to God for judgement, we are absolving ourselves of the responsibility for those actions. Worse yet, we expect the priest to absolve us – a member of the clergy who is as human as us. Perhaps I’m being cynical on that and it’s more wholesome and stoic than I give it credit for. Perhaps it is a case of any step is the right step when confronting our own mistakes.
Today, I upset a friend. I’ve spoken about this friend before but I was insensitive towards them in this case and made them feel uncomfortable. I could not think about anything else than to apologise for my words and put right what I did wrong. How could I not? What pointless pride would stop me? In the past I’ve struggled and fought with the words “I’m sorry” for what purpose? All the fear of that has done is killed friendships and slowed my own growth. What’s stopping any of us from seeing wrong in our actions. After all, inherently there is no wrong or right, only the consequences of what we do. So if those consequences are to the detriment of another or ourselves, it is our moral duty as human beings, as expressions of the universal Whole, to eat the humble pie and apologise for that.
“Please always call me out when I go wrong.” – Z
I’m quoting myself here quite shamelessly, words I spoke not even 7 hours ago. It’s a simple request to my friend and one I expect follow through on. Is it not something we should all expect? How can we ever return to the middle path when blinded by our own experience if we can’t allow someone to help us. An apology is that acknowledgement. Contrition is acceptance of the flaws within us all. Even the most perfect stoic, should understand that apologising and accepting perception of their action from within and without is a virtue.
My friends words to my blunt questioning:
“Ask me different next time.” – X
I learned from this. I will ask about the topic that we were talking about with a gentler hand and tact. They showed me a better way to be and I will evolve accordingly. If I had been an arrogant idiot and said something like “no fuck you, I’ll say what I like” the relationship would have been killed then and there. Or perhaps not, it would instead lead to animosity and a lot more effort for something that would have been avoided had I just accepted my own wrong doing and faced it.
“If someone can prove me wrong and show me my mistake in any thought or action, I shall gladly change. I seek truth, which never harmed anyone: the harm is to persist in one’s own self-deception and ignorance.” – Meditations 6.21
To be a stoic not only means accepting of things what we cannot control but also of what we do control, accepting change within ourselves for the betterment of all around us. Disregard the taboo of admitting fault, of looking into the mirror to see warts and all. Experience growth in your mistakes and live a better life.
So, to be brief: un-bite your lip and eat your humble pie, it’s good for you.