"It doesn’t matter whether you need them or not, just treat people right" - Unknown
Have you ever been hurt by an unapologetic person? Most of us have. When this happens, it hurts, but we must wholeheartedly forgive the person anyway. Recently, I was studying the Book of James 5:16a (The KJV Bible) and it reads "confess your faults one to another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed." The phrase "confess your faults" within the context of usage simply means "to acknowledge to another that you were wrong." Put differently, it means to accept responsibility for your errors or oversights that may have created some inconvenience or distress for your loved ones, family, neighbours or work colleagues.
From my humble experience in managing people, I found out that there are several words that are somewhat difficult for many to heartily express or say with definiteness of purpose and moral leadership. But none are more difficult than these eight life-changing words:
"I'm sorry. I was wrong. Please forgive me."
Why are these eight words so difficult? Perhaps because THEY HOLD SUCH POWER. However, many otherwise articulate people seem to have great difficulty in spitting these words out. They hem and haw. They stutter. They may get something close out, but they've a hard time slowly and deliberately saying these eight simple words. Why? Because it takes a heavy dose of humility NOT only to spit out those words but to mean every one of them with the degree of heartiness and sincerity that they command.
Empathy (or Emotional Intelligence), like a mentor intelligently coined is the ability to put ourselves in another person's shoes and feel what they feel. This is something we desperately need to develop in family circles, organisational settings and society at large. It demands "humility of heart."
Too often, we are preoccupied with our own feelings. Nonetheless, empathy is the recognition that it's not all about us. Other people matter. Those we live and work with matter. Our neighbours matter. Everyone else apart from you matters. They have feelings, too, and those feelings are very important.
By saying "we are sorry" - SINCERELY and with AUTHENTIC HUMILITY - we validate other people as human beings because PEOPLE LIKE TO FEEL LIKE PEOPLE ESPECIALLY WHEN THEY COME AROUND US. We are essentially saying, "I know you are hurt, and I understand. Your feelings are valid, and I am sorry that I am the cause of them. I'm not sorry because I got caught or because you called me out. I'm sorry because of the hurt that I caused you". That's pure authenticity, love and consideration for others.
This is the most difficult part of the eight words I write about to you today. Perhaps most people live with the mistaken notion that they never do anything wrong. Or perhaps we just think the other person should "give us a pass" because somehow we deserve it. But the truth is, WE ALL MAKE MISTAKES (knowingly or unknowingly). If we knew better, we would act better. But we learn, grow and develop every day.
How about the part... "Please forgive me"
This is one of the most powerful words we can ever utter. By saying this any time we wrong another, we acknowledge that forgiveness is not necessarily an entitlement but a gift that we give away freely.
The point of sharing these thoughts with you today is to let you see that we may be tempted to take shortcuts in the manner we handle or resolve "conflicts" in our human relationships every now and then. How do I mean? I have seen very many self-centred people (whose actions or words hurt others) simply say, "I apologize" or "Sorry" without ANY deep sense of authenticity, remorse or responsibility. But nothing is quite as effective as saying all EIGHT WORDS (as aforementioned). It may seem or sound awkward or artificial at first, but with practice it gets easier and becomes a part of what I call your "Character Capital."
And if you are like me, you'll have plenty of opportunities to practice as I learn everyday that an honest apology can mend relationships of ANY kind, dissolve anger, soothe shattered pride or heal a broken heart. This is one sure way of healing, mending, rebuilding and revolutionising our broken society, ESPECIALLY THE HOME-FRONT. So go ahead today, practice saying those EIGHT WORDS sincerely, and very kindly too. Spit them out fervently! It's the hallmark of great strength, character, moral leadership and responsibility.
Thank you for giving me your precious time today. I enjoyed sharing my thoughts with you. Kindly expect more on this "Hard-talks Series." Together, we can change the world! Accept my warmest regards and love.
"The way people treat you is a statement of who they are as a human being. It's not a statement about you" - Unknown
With the Usual Esteem & Appreciation,
Christian Aligba is the Founder/President of C.A.L.F Africa, a non-profit organization that's keenly developing and recognizing the next generation of African leaders - helping to create a new narrative, a new normal, a new beginning. Better Leaders, Better Societies across Africa. Learn more@ www.calfafrica.org
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