Apologize, Forgive   

Years ago, I was asked to help determine the next steps in an incident investigation. The story went that a staff member yelled at a client and used derogatory and demeaning language. The employee admitted to doing that and expressed frustration with encouraging the client to shower and had lost their patience. The policy at the time required at least a verbal warning. This was certainly not my first time hearing this kind of offense. In the past, more than one manager had suggested that this was a bad sign and that the employee should be transferred to work elsewhere.    

While I appreciate that we need to take verbal altercations seriously, I wanted to know if we should consider how the situation would be handled between two people in a different setting. I broke the tradition at that moment when I was being asked for advice. I told the manager to provide verbal counseling instead of discipline. In that counseling, direct the employee to apologize to the client for what they said. I was then asked what happens if the employee does not apologize. I said the discipline is warranted. In the end, the employee apologized.   

Apologies are not easy. It is hard to admit that you cannot contain your negative emotions. If we offend someone, we need to say we are sorry. Apologies set us on a path for reconnecting.   

The phrasing we use is essential. You may also need to practice saying it out loud, even if only to yourself.  

I am sorry. t is best to follow it with, I am committed not to do it again.  

Although some apologies may not sound sincere, my daughter once received one. The person said, if I have offended you, I am sorry. That sounded to her like the person did not believe he had offended her, but he had. Not only had he made some inaccurate statements, but others overheard them, and he had accurate information at the time. Don’t apologize until you are ready with your simple statement. But do make sure you get to it.    

We run on human connections. We need these connections to be successful. We need connections for our mental and physical well-being.    

No one is perfect. Yet, we must stay on the path of caring and forgiveness for our mistakes and others.   

Forgiveness is a catalyst creating the atmosphere necessary for a fresh start and a new beginning.”  

Martin Luther King Jr.