Friday, January 30, 2009

Apologizing

I hate being imperfect and dealing with my imperfections, especially when they affect others. I hate hurting people's feelings. I hate realizing how short I fall and how this will never really change. I hate that apologizing is hard. I hate that words can hurt others so much--and that you can't take them back. You can apologize, but like with a fire, you can never completely undo the damage.

At lunch today with coworkers I made an ugly comment; I said that my (younger) boss was "selling himself as X but that I had never thought of him that way" and other words to that effect. It just came out all wrong. I realized through the course of the conversation that what he meant by X and what I meant by X were two different things and that his identity was very much wrapped up in being X. I wasn't sure if I had hurt his feelings, but I was certain I had done something wrong and that it needed to be addressed today. I've sat in my office since lunch not wanting to deal with this, wondering if I was making a mountain out of a molehill and should just let it slide, and feeling convicted that I needed to get up and deal with it. My boss just left, and I finally spoke to him as he was leaving.

It was hard and uncomfortable, and my eyes filled up with tears. He was gracious and said he was certain that it had been a miscommunication--and that his reaction was more a result of some extraneous matters, which I took to mean that he had (rightfully) been bothered by what I said and had been thinking about it. He said he appreciated me speaking to him about it, and I am grateful that I cleared the air--at least as much as possible.

I'm glad my value is not in my perfection. I'm glad that I'm slowly learning to speak less and listen more. I'm glad that I find myself in situations like the one this afternoon less than I once did. I'm glad that I realized that what I said was ugly and that my apology was well received. I'm glad that I'm redeemed and forgiven.

p.s. I'm grateful for the delicious cheeseburger I ate last night at J. Alexander's (and the lovely company).

13 comments:

browneyedgirlie said...

I know what you mean. I often feel like I suffer from a case of 'Open mouth, insert foot' more than I should.

I agree that speaking less and listening more is a good way to be.

Flat Coke and Flies said...

It's good to have peace about things like this, esp on a Friday before the weekend. You don't wanna stress Sat/Sun over something like that.

W T G said...

I say good for you for confronting the issue rather than leaving it alone and letting it fester inside creating an uncomfortable work situation. Enjoy the weekend ....

KennethSF said...

I think you're a better person than many I know, because you have the courage to face what you regret and admit that your judgment might have been flawed. Most folks just leave it alone in the hope that it'll cease to be an issue over time. Usually, That's a formula for disaster, because the resentment will poison every aspect of the relationship.

TC said...

Good for you for getting it out there :) Apologizing isn't easy, but sometimes it's necessary.

p.s. lovely company? is there a new boy in the pic? ;)

Ally said...

Browneyed: Yep, I'm pretty good at foot in mouth.

FC&F: Exactly. And if you wait too long it makes it seem like a huge deal.

WTG: I hate unresolved conflict, and it'd be even worse with a boss.

Kenneth: Yeah, trying to avoid conflict at all costs is so unhealthy. I resolved a few years ago to quit being such a coward about it.

TC: Now that would be fun! Alas it was a good friend's early birthday dinner.

Kimberly said...

Ally, I appreciate your honesty and I have been there too...it feels much better to clear the air. Glad your boss was cool about it and it probably freed him of some leftover stuff from that conversation too.

Kyla Bea said...

The three hardest words in the English language to say: "I was wrong."

Good for you for stepping up! You're a brave heart.

Rachel said...

Your boss must be grateful to have such a gracious employee. I can never bring myself to be so strong in those types of situations.

Aaron said...

I don't think anyone is good at apologizing, even those of us that seem to get more practice than others. ;)

I've owned up to a lot at work. I just with others (especially management!) would reciprocate when necessary.

Chasie said...

I am grateful for the cheeseburger (and fries and cake/ICECREAM) you got at J. Alexanders too... And for delicious-pasta-meal #3 that I had today as a result of that evening.

love,
yourfriendwhoyoumakefeelveryspecial

B said...

I have always believed that more important than words is the intention behind them.

Ys said...

saying sorry is one of the most difficult things. I'm glad you found the courage :)