If yesterday’s blog post about perfection was a sequel to the one about regrets, then today’s is the closing part of the trilogy.
This is about the word ‘sorry’.
The reason I’m not keen on people who claim to have no regrets ‘because it made them who they are today’ have a disturbingly localised focus on life.
Either that or they’ve led an entirely blameless and faultless life.
Yesterday I said that in order to achieve perfection you had to stop measuring yourself against other people, and start measuring yourself against what you could be.
But that doesn’t mean you have to stop thinking about other people completely.
It’s too easy to forget than even the smallest of our actions have an impact on other people.
Sometimes just the way we phrase a daily greeting, or failing to make eye contact with someone while they’re talking to you, can have a ripple effect.
I discovered it myself this week, when a colleague of mine informed me of another colleague who had stormed out of the office last week in a huff. I hadn’t been around at the time, so knew nothing about it, but when I went to see him to ask him about it, I discovered that the reason, or at least part of the reason, was something that I had said.
I’d been fairly dismissive of a piece of work he was doing, partly because I knew he didn’t believe it had any value, but I basically told him I wouldn’t have anything to do with it, because I was too busy.
I was busy, but that doesn’t excuse it.
The fact was he’d spent some time on it, because he had been asked to by his boss. Turns out, he completely agreed with me, he thought it was a waste of time and had argued as such with his boss.
By the time he’d gotten to me, he’d spent a couple of hours working on it, when he could have been getting on with something more valuable. And I just shot him down.
It was the straw that broke the camel’s back, to use an old adage.
Anyway, my point is, I could have probably phrased my response a little bit better. Though I didn’t know how stressed he was, ignorance is – as with most things in life – no defence.
As Elton John once sang, sorry seems to be the hardest word. And I think the reason why it’s so hard is because it admits to a failing on our own part. Admitting, that somehow, we are weak… not perfect.
But think about it the other way round.
All those other words, those other easy words that we just throw out there without thinking about it, the ones that sometimes lead to us needing to apologise, can ruin someone’s day.
‘Sorry’ can make it better again. It should be the easiest word.
Prompt: Apologies for that