Say Sorry

There is something weird about us humans. We are given these amazing brains and use a mere 10% capacity. But with this 10% capacity, we were able to create languages, find cures for once-fatal diseases, form societies, build houses, invent the steam engine, the printing press, automobiles, and establish some sort of minor communication with a few animal species.

We observe, analyze, interpret, and come up with conclusions about almost anything. An example is how we look at other people. We meet people, have conversations and form general ideas about them (sometimes even before having a conversation).

It starts out as something simple.

  • “Those guys were talking way too loudly during the conference.”
  • “It is inappropriate of you to ask that question in such a situation.”
  • “It was wrong of her to yell at him in a public place.”
  • “He shouldn’t have lied.”
  • “She should’ve let him explain.”
  • “She is so disrespectful.”
  • “He is never going to change.”

It’s so easy for us to judge other people. We look at people and we see their flaws, imperfections, and mistakes. I’m not saying we don’t see the good, but we do subconsciously, and sometimes intentionally – even unintentionally, try to find the bad. We make small remarks about people. The way they talk, walk, dress, behave, think, and act.

On my way to WYA this morning, a woman in the bus told a young mother of three, “You shouldn’t have so many children.”

While writing this post in a coffee shop, I heard a young man telling another, “She made more than one mistake! Forget about her!”

And then there’s that infamous saying, “You need to lose weight.”

  • He cheated.
  • I cheated because you haven’t talked to me in three months.
  • He lied about where he was.
  • I lied because I didn’t want to upset you. You get upset over the most trivial matters.
  • She broke her promise.
  • I broke my promise because I thought I was helping

Notice how the blame is put on the other? Why can’t we just get up whenever we’ve made a mistake and say, “I’m sorry.”?

Now, try this exercise: Name three awesome things about you, and three negative things about your ex or just someone you generally dislike.

Try it the other way around.

Wasn’t it easier to name his/her faults?

Martin Buber talks about two relationships we have in this world, the “I-Thou” relationship, and the “I-It.” We’re supposed to have I-Thou relationships with each other, but in my opinion, when we can’t owe up to our mistakes and try to blame other people; we’re actually acting as if we have an I-It relationship with other people.

Have you ever thought of looking at things through the other person’s perspective? Maybe you can’t see that you did anything wrong and only the other person made a mistake. But really now, aren’t you human?

You’ve done that person wrong, just as that person has done you wrong.

Even if you can’t see it, you have, at one point or another, done something wrong by that person.

We all make mistakes.

I am in no way a pessimist. I’m somewhere in between optimist and realist. I just realize that we don’t seem to notice our flaws as much as others’ flaws.

It’s time to utilize some of that 10% capacity into all our relationships. Once we try seeing things from other people’s perspectives, and actually appreciating what that other person might feel or think – we begin to acknowledge that person’s human dignity as well.

Say sorry. Acknowledge your mistake.

It makes a difference.

– By our regional intern, Ahlam Awada at the World Youth Alliance – Middle East office