I’ve never met the man in person, but I gotta tell you I’ve come to love me some Ryan Kennedy.
Mr. Kennedy came into my life when a mutual friend recommended we connect on Facebook. He’s one of those people who doesn’t post all that often, but when he does he gives you something to think about. One of his recent posts was this:
The word “apology” is derived from the Greek word “apologia” which refers to a defense or explanation of a point of view in question. It seems to me that we would have much more meaningful communication if we could all keep this in mind the next time someone “owes us an apology.” Just a thought.
It’s actually just a very good thought that deserves a lot of consideration. A true apology is not grovelling or saying you’re sorry or even simply seeking forgiveness. So listen up — and you know who you are — there is a lot more to it than what the public stage suggests is an apology. A true apology is an accounting of your actions, an explanation of the behavior or motives behind the events, and perhaps most importantly is merely a first step in an extended process of dialogue and reconnection with the damaged party or parties. On the receiving end, let’s stop pretending all we have to do is say “OK” to make it over.
Apologies are hard work all around. Which usually means if you do it right, it’s well worth it. Rock on, Mr. Kennedy.
2 thoughts on “All Apologies”
You’re totally right (or you and Mr. Kennedy) about having to account for your actions when you apologize. I wonder what action the receiver of the apology should take, beyond simple forgiveness?
I would think everyone has to evaluate that for themselves. For me, when someone takes the time to truly apologize to me I try to help them gain reciprocal insight into what happened, i.e., the reasons their actions had certain effects they did not anticipate or may have been suprised by. If it is an ongoing relationship I also think it’s only fair to confirm your expectations about the future. I had a really good exchange like this with a friend around a dynamic that needed to change and I think we both contributed to a much better ongoing relationship.