Thursday, October 20, 2011
"When I'm wrong, I say I'm wrong"
Dirty Dancing, it's not only one of my favorite all time movies, it's also the first movie I ever watched at home on our first new VCR in about 1987-1988. Since then I have seen it a million times. Well, not a million, but 50 plus times would be a more accurate count and I am not in the least bit ashamed to admit it. What girl, well woman, my age didn't watch it, fall in love with Johnny and want to be taught to dance by Patrick Swayze in a way that would have him taking you to the forest to tight-rope walk fallen trees and practice lifts in the lake? Yes, it's still a favorite and I can quote most of the movie word for word when I watch it and it never gets old. Okay, I did have a thought to convey here, but the Dirty Dancing Patrick Swayze thought kinda got me sidetracked.
A few years ago, I had an encounter with a friend where I apologized for misjudging her. In our conversation, I apologized to her and said "When I'm wrong, I say I'm wrong." I didn't realize until I walked away that I just apologized with Jerry Orbach's line in the movie Dirty Dancing. My realization kinda made the apology feel cheap as I just quoted from a "chic flick", but I did say what I meant and the apology was completely legitimate and heartfelt. Movie quotes aside, that person is now one of my closest and dearest friends, and I am glad that we were both willing to admit our failures and look at each other in true honesty to have the friendship we have today.
That said, I am becoming extremely irritated with those that can't admit when they are wrong and do something as simple as apologize for their actions when they do treat others wrongly. It is apparently demeaning to some to use the words "I'm sorry" like it's going to physically hurt them to treat someone with respect every now and again. I was raised to take responsibility for my actions and in that comes apologizing when I'm wrong. But maybe my parents raised me different than others, maybe they read the wrong parenting book, maybe it's just another example of a social epidemic that no one takes responsibilities for their own actions anymore. What I do know, is that when we fail to apologize for our actions when we are wrong to others, we in turn say that we do not respect that person or care about their feelings. Ignoring it, or sweeping it under the rug, does not make these things go away, it just makes the issue worse and continues to degrade the other person.
I in no way am saying I am always right or never hurt others. I know that I have unintentionally offended people time after time, and for that I am sorry. I can't apologize, nor can others, when we don't know that what we have done has offended or hurt someone. What we can do is take ownership when we do know that we have done wrong and take all measures to make it right.
I have also been on the hurt end. The end that takes the disrespect and attacks from others without ever hearing that apology. I know it's just words, but words mean a lot and actions speak volumes too. It's quite ironic to me that the same people who do this are usually the ones who avoid you until they need something and then they act like nothing ever happened in the past. I try to "let it go", get past the hurt, get past the pain, but usually find myself setting myself up for another disappointment. Because of this I have been trying to implement something called "boundaries" in my life. We are the only person that can give another person the ability to ruin our day, right? So, boundaries it is. Not unforgiveness, but self protection and boundaries as to how I will allow myself to be treated by others. It's very similar to that phrase "Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me." I am open to others, open to relationships and all they offer and there are times I know I will be hurt. But instead of giving all of myself to those who have thrown me to the wayside, I am going to create some boundaries and proceed with caution.