Monday, April 16, 2012

Knowing how to say "I'm sorry."

    Working with small children the word "sorry" gets thrown around a lot. "It's ok" is another phrase that usually follows it. As children we learn that when we do something wrong we apologize (even if we aren't really sorry) and we also learn that when someone says they're sorry you accept their apology (even if you really don't).
     As adults we learn that we don't have to say that we're sorry if we aren't. Occasionally we may throw out an apology that we don't completely stand behind simply to move past a situation, keep the peace, appease others, or even just to look like a nice person. We apologize for many reasons, and not all of them are because we are sincerely sorry. More importantly we learn that we do not have to accept these apologies. We can listen to them or not, and make up our minds to let the situation go and accept the apology, accept it under conditions such as change in behavior or some type of penance, or not accept it at all and leave the apologizer to live with the knowledge that they have done something we feel is unforgivable. In the last situation we are presented with yet another decision, which is to continue in whatever type of relationship we were engaged in, or end said relationship due to the indiscretion.
    We learn these things as adults fairly early. Something I don't think we necessarily learn in a timely manner is when and how to be and say that we are sorry. We often believe that we are justified in our actions and have no desire to apologize for something justified. Sometimes we view the interaction as something that should not be held to be meaningful, leaving an apology unwarranted. In some situations we simply can't or won't take the time to attempt to understand the other side, learning how something we've done could possibly be upsetting or hurtful to another human being. If we do acquire these skills it can lead us to a whole new set of problems: a set of problems associated with another set of skills.
    Forgiveness. Not even just forgiveness, but sometimes the skill to hear a person out in their apology. Sometimes we are so hurt or upset that we don't even want to hear what a person could possibly have to say after they've done or said something so hurtful. Perhaps we even feel justified in punishing them by refusing to listen at all. These actions are our rights as humans, and we exercise them regularly.
    I bring this topic up not because of some recent slight against me or mistake made by me, but rather in reflection on a lot of things in my adult life. I have been considering my relationships with people and the ends of those relationships in contrast to those that have lasted. It occurs to me that I (to the best of my recollection) make it a point to at least listen to a persons apology if it is offered before I decide to accept or refuse it. I feel like it is crucial to make an informed decision. You made my baby sister cry? I'll never forgive you for it, but I'll certainly listen to whatever poor excuse or apology you have for it. And you know what, if the situation was that she had her period and you mentioned the name "Pat" and it threw her into a fit of tears because her friend Pat just died, I may just forgive you. We have a complex world, in which every single person is living a life that we don't necessarily know about. As far as I'm concerned, it's worth hearing someone out, even if you're pretty sure that I've made up my mind. It isn't smart to make a decision and stick to it without at least trying to gather all of the information.

     All of this said, I only wish that other people were as open to hearing what people have to say as I am. I've made mistakes, I've had people do things that have upset me. I think that if we could all simply focus on what is truly important and give each other a chance we would live happier lives. I mean, we chose these people to be in our lives at some point, didn't we? Why should we let a mistake end that relationship, especially without trying to understand how it happened first?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

You are my sunshine...

    So much has changed in so little time, which seems to be the pattern in my life. I can't complain of course, stagnation and complacency bore me. Change is a necessary and exciting part of life, a part that I wouldn't give up... even if it does mean that stability is more difficult to come by.
    Chris has managed to test out of his classes and come home. He has found a wonderful job with a stable company making enough to help us start our life together in a more responsible manner. He is looking into apartments that will be lovely for us for the next few years while we make strides in our lives and careers. He demonstrates his dedication to himself and me by taking the time to responsibly set up our future, unlike the last time we found an apartment which was rushed and almost frantic. This time around we are taking time, saving, budgeting, shopping, organizing... taking care of everything that should be taken care of the right way. He makes me proud with the changes he is making to his habits as well as the way he chooses to demonstrate his commitment. 
    I've started a new job and should have a full client load by this weekend. I'm still on at the job I've had since August and doing my best to keep my enthusiasm there. It finally looks like what I've been working for is coming to fruition. Even with these amazing career steps I'm taking I keep the idea of school in the back of my mind. My intention is to make application by the deadlines this year, and start in August of 2013. It's slightly later than I'd originally intended, (you know, when I was like 12) but it will be an appropriate time. I'll be 25 when I start, hopefully finished by 30. These numbers are frightening but I recognize that in the grand scheme of things I'll still be relatively young and able to have so many things that I've wanted in my life. In addition I'm reminded of the joy that education brings me. I love learning and studying, so the prospect of returning to a university makes me excessively happy.
    In addition to the changes that have happened more are sure to come. Within the next six months I expect to be fully committed to my new job, have put in application to at least 5 schools, moved into a new apartment with my future husband, gone on vacation with an adorable married couple, adopted a dog, really begun planning our wedding, celebrated my beautiful sister's 21st birthday, and hopefully grown even more than I have in the last six months. I have high hopes that the next six months will allow me to once again look toward the future, rather than focus on the day to day of how to keep everything afloat. The idea makes me smile and brightens my days.

We take events from our past and use them as motivation for our future. If you have events like these to draw from, you are truly lucky.