“Right actions in the future are the best apologies for bad actions in the past”. — Tyron Edwards
This article is shamelessly dovetailing the writer’s high about the importance to words. Let’s clarify some of the most important parts of language that should be visited with the ideal of understanding better. What are some phrases you hear from others’ mouths that are often said without thought? So thoughtlessly, that it borders on frivolous. What do you think are important phrases that shouldn’t be steeped in negligence?
I am sure most of you are thinking: ‘Hey I got some donuts, but the donut shop was all out of the pastries you like, so I got you a big coffee mint vanilla lavender anis flavored milkshake.’ You were exceptionally close, but sadly that wasn’t even in the same football stadium to the statements of noted insouciance. ‘Hey, were you thinking of that classic line from Gladiator, “It vexes me. I am terribly vexed.”’ So again, just stop guessing, you are not good at this game.
There are two very powerful statements, in my life, that I make sure I am in the right frame of mind to even utter. Number one: I love you. Number two: I am sorry. That is a total collection of 5 words, if you count the redundancy of saying I. What specifically is it about these two statements that is so important?
Do you remember when you were a child, being scolded by your parents or some other authoritarian entity, FORCING you to apologize for something you were far too belligerent to accept blame for? Why you little shit! Who the hell did you think you were by undermining your parents teaching the craft of bridging gaps of understanding? Where did you get your infinite wisdom to snub your nose at these people at such a prime age?
Can any of you guess why these two pillars of abuse, are so invaluable to me to say and hear? Let’s use fun analogies to trigger the deep-rooted reason. Most of this will be VHS cassettes of my own enduring mental pain. Be wary of triggers, all – y’all been warned!
Let’s say you’ve been dating someone for a while. You’ve grown exorbitantly comfortable with them. You move in, you share your passwords, you give full access to your being to this person. The words, I Love You, was shared heavily during the honeymoon phase of your relationship. The world just feels right.
You felt so many warm fuzzy feelings whenever you heard it directed at you and reciprocated the aural space of your betrothed. What if you accidentally trip into some of your lover’s mishap. You find they’ve been cheating on you. Irrefutable proof, they cheated on YOU. HOW could they? But they did.
Now, we are actually getting somewhere. You have tabulated all the times you’ve said, I Love You, to them, and have come to the grand conclusion, 5,348 times, in your short, but lively, relationship. You go so far as to tabulate how many times they expressed the same sentiment towards you, with a grand total of, 3,745 times. At first, you didn’t feel the disparity warranted any concern. With the cheating element added into the picture, it starts to make sense. There are 1,603 missed chances to express one’s love. Of your 100% commitment, you determined, with numbers, mind you, that they only gave roughly 65%.
Thirty-fucking-five percent disparity! This enrages you. But you want more info. You believe, with all good intentions, that this person, who cheated on you, did, in fact, love you at the beginning, at least, right? You feel you are owed the explanation regarding WHEN exactly those words meant absolutely nothing. Does it even matter at this point? The end justifies the means, right?
Being cheated on absolutely sucks. Again, my mantra, the fucking snowplow of ethics here says: there is NO excuse for bad behavior. But bad behavior is what you reaped. You did the right thing, you committed to this person, and threw away your other likely candidates at the time. Now it starts coming into focus. Why in the fuck would anyone say: I love you, yet not mean it?
How many times have you told someone, just in passing, you love them? Do you really? Or is it just your stupid catchphrase? Is your persona so fragile that you need to use vapidity to be memorable? Do you know all of the other insipid and vacuous monsters in this world doing the same thing?
You are not unique. That ship sailed so long ago. I’ve been to raves, and had people so fritzed out of their mind on who knows what designer drugs, most likely E or Molly, who would just come up to me and tell me they loved me. To borrow some cultural slang, Da’FUQ? The phrase, I Love You has lost its meaning.
In order to want to be wanted, we throw out non-committal statements. We alter ourselves to fit someone else’s narrative. Worried we will be gossiped about. WHY is this even a thing? Why tell people you love them? Linguistically speaking, there are a varied array of definitions of love, degrees, if you will.
If you want to delve deeper into the Greek variants of love, check out this interesting FTD article. Then I stumbled across a Quora question HERE, that helps illuminate that the word love has many different variants in so many different languages. We can get lost in the linguistical aspect of this endeavor to understand the gradations of love. However, if you say it callously, does it have any intent?
I would caution each of my audience members to challenge themselves too seriously contemplate when they say I Love You to someone, you deem special. What meaning are you ascribing this powerful statement? Will you cherish the aural real estate it should have when you utter it? Or will you continue to deliver it like a robot. They said it, so I HAVE to. To me, that is such an inappropriate response.
My previous article delivered the idea to you all that words mean a lot to me. They are a commodity that many people do not give them the necessary value. When I say, I Love You, it is said with conviction. I’ve been in the shoes where I am unable to utter those words to someone that meant something to me. Regardless of my spotted past with my mother, when she died, I did not get to say I love you, except when she lay on the hospital bed, brain dead, connected to machines.
To illustrate this point even more, the night I was home, and was able to hang out with my mentor at a shitty little local restaurant, where I heard him cuss for the first time. One of the servers blatantly said quite vociferously how much she hated her mother. THAT FUCKING STUNG. My mind was aflutter. I really wanted to yell at her, but my sorrow for having just pulled the plug on my mother’s whisp of a life, took precedence. A person loses their mother and not 24 hours pass before someone bitches about hating their mother. The gall.
Saying I love you should demand the same focus as planning a wedding. Telling someone you love them should be the highlight of their day. The person receiving this message should be giddy that someone loves their worthless ass. Words have power. Using the ‘N’ word has forcible power. As I stated in the previous ARTICLE: Words cripple, words heal, words deceive, and words bring truth into focus.
To the person in the analogy, earlier, who was cheated on, the words I Love You, became deceitful. The actual antithesis of what it should have done. Give yourself a break from saying I Love You to someone, until you speak it with conviction. Even if it only means some of the Greek variants, and not a deep soul stealing love, make it matter, give credence to its worth.
Next, we move on to one of my favorite phrases. You, as an audience member, reading this shit, have absolutely no clue how many actual people have been lectured about this very next topic. I am a juggernaut of seeing the decline of the phrase uttered. I don’t whimsically suggest people not to apologize to me. I make it impactful.
To recap the example above, you being forced to apologize, just to teach you fake humility, taught you nothing. You know why it taught you nothing? You were not in a mental space to accept the lesson being taught. You felt you have to act out your contrition, which has led you to possibly incorporate that for political gain.
I am sorry. Oh, sorry, I didn’t mean to do that. Sorry! My bad! Oops, I goofed. Sorry IF….
You all have experienced those misguided travesties of feigned accountability. To me, saying I Am Sorry, holds as much meaning as: I Love you! Those five fucking words all over again. What gives, dipshit, get over yourself. Like, Oh My God, get over it already. People say stuff, it’s like language, ya know!
It is language. Oddly enough, whenever I have worked with people from any other place outside of the United States of the Galaxy, I make damned sure that if I am going to learn some useful phrases in their native tongue, that it will not be cuss words. Again, words mean something to me. To me, it is disrespectful to overlook the beauty of a particular language just to exploit the easy laughs with curse words.
I’ve compiled useful phrases in Finnish, Japanese, Russian, German, Norwegian, Korean, French, Spanish, Greek, Chinese, and a few other languages, into a few little notebooks. I would ask stupid shit like, when I worked at a little café at a bus depot, I’d ask these young Japanese school (secondary) girls how to say: Don’t Worry, Be Happy, in their native tongue. I learned how to say I Am Sorry, in many languages, because, the fucking words mean something to me. If they mean this much to me, they sure as hell mean something to these people who speak it.
I give a shit. I am more focused. It doesn’t make me a saint, nor does it make me a goddamned angel. What it does make me, is someone who is parsimonious with the phrase: I Am Sorry. If I actually meant to say, excuse me, didn’t mean to bump into you, it isn’t an apology, per se. It is taking ownership for an accidental bump. I Am Sorry denotes, something you could have controlled, yet you didn’t, should be acknowledged to a heightened level.
There are many ways to understand and appreciate a heartfelt apology. I have three basic elements of an apology:
- Speak of the past – state what you did that impacted someone negatively.
- Speak of the present – take ownership right now, about how you negatively impacted this person
- Speak of the future – state how you plan on avoiding this behavior again, so your apology remains valid, true, and honorable.
You speak of the past. Even if it was a moment ago, that you said something vengeful. Acknowledge what you did. This ought to impress the person you are working your apology process through. Maybe they do not know how selfish what you did was. Coming clean and stating, I did such and such because I mistakenly presumed something from your behavior. Share openly and candidly and do not put BLAME on the person you are apologizing to.
Speak of the present. In this moment, I acknowledge what I did was pretty shitty. There was no excuse for that behavior. Own it. You did it, you take credit for it. Similar to the immature adage, I licked it, it’s mine. Always look the person you are apologizing to, in their eyes. That connection will have reverberations later. If the eyes are the windows to the soul, and they get a glimpse of yours, and you, them, it certainly cannot hurt.
Speak of the future. How will you work towards mitigating ever having to apologize for the same malcious action again? Nothing sounds worse than a broken record. Don’t be the person cycling through the same apology. I realize some of you young’uns ain’t never heard no broken records. Basically, what it is, is a slice between the grooves that cause the needle to cycle through a 2 – 10 second bit of music, repeatedly. The first few times you may think – WHOA, this DJ is off the hook. I guarantee you, after about 3 revolutions of this, you start to worry there is a problem. Which reminds me of one of the funniest stand up bits I have ever enjoyed. John Mulaney, one of his earlier WORKS. Give it a listen.
If you use this set of metrics to apologize, you will not only see growth in yourself, but also the person you are paying penance to. I am not your life coach, but from my accolades of mistakes, I can certainly steer you clear of a lot of pitfalls when dealing with your fellow (wo)man. Life is hard enough without assholes traipsing over the top of you. Don’t be that asshole.
I realize that with the flippancy we hear in our daily exchanges of conversation, we lose sight of our goal to be at peace with one another. I fail, and sometimes I fail without the added blessing of cheerleaders. It’s embarrassing when I fuck up. I’ve grown to such a position in my life that I don’t want to be THAT person anymore. Who takes others for granted. It’s true, 99% of the population means jack shit to me. Regardless of that insufficient factoid, it doesn’t give me the right to treat people amidst me, like shit. In fact, I do not deserve to have people treat me like shit either.
As I have shared with others, if we all own our fuck-ups – our mistakes — our oversights – AND we learn from them, it wasn’t all for naught. We live in such a perverse universe that fairness and justice are out the window for the betterment of those who think the ends justify the means. Our society has lived with smaller clusters of these personality types. I am witnessing it become more ingrained.
At some point, our cultures are going to eat themselves from the inside, out. We are going to fawn over the ‘good ole days’ when shit was much simpler. We are getting to a place where simpler isn’t part of the equation. We think we are getting simpler, but we have become dependent upon complications.
To take a moment, applying an ounce of prescience to that which we say, we can make someone feel the kind of special we desire. Give deeper meaning to a comment of love and adoration or an apology. Make what you say count for something with deeper conviction. Put as much care into what you say to someone, as the level of concern for their well-being increases within you. Do not put people on a pedestal, they will infuriate and let you down. You can certainly become a better example of what you wish to be surrounded by. Make your words count towards an honorable means.
As always, I welcome any constructive criticism, or complementary theories, analogies, anecdotes. I would love to hear if you find these edicts of challenge useful or utter horseshit. Similar to the 90’s when the catchphrase, ‘Be Kind, Rewind’ was hailed as marketing genius. I need to come up with one that invites you to either subscribe, via WordPress or via email, like posts, or even comment on posts. The immediate feedback is useful for anyone. Thank you very much for reading through all of this drivel. Be well, stay safe, AND stay sane!