October 11, 2011

My bad!

When I was little, maybe six years old, I called my sister a bad word and she told on me. Not a problem, right? Just apologize about it and move on? Yeah, that wasn't going to happen. I insisted to my mom that Sister was that bad word, and would not take it back. Not a chance in heck would I be apologizing. My mother threatened to wash my mouth out with soap, a threat my sister has received in the past, and was quick to quell with a simple "I'm sorry."

But me? I called her bluff.

So, she took a washcloth, got it nice and soapy and proceeded to literally wash my mouth out with soap.

About two seconds into it, I spit out an "Ai sowee" through soap bubbles, with tears running down my face. I'm sure it took all of my mother's willpower to tell me "Too late, you have to learn to apologize as soon as you know you've done something wrong." She washed that filthy mouth out for a good minute or so. Most disgusting thing ever.

Not that I learned my lesson. It was a running joke in my family about my stubborn pride and refusal to apologize for anything. Ever. Well, not anymore! I learned pretty early on that when there is a fight with Brett, it needs to end in an apology. Usually from both of us. And usually within a short amount of time. Accepting this has been (really really really difficult!! I put up a good fight, right B? LOL! but also) really helpful in all aspects of my life.

On the plane home from Seattle, I was reading the August issue of Self Magazine and came across an article that emphasizes what I'm saying. It's entitled "Get Exactly What You Want," by Michelle Fiordaliso and includes the apology as an important skill to master in a successful life. It even lists the "steps" of the perfect apology and I had to share with you:

  1. Say you're sorry! And for the love of God, be genuine, or don't even bother: "I'm sorry I couldn't make it to your party." [her example, not mine]
  2. No excuses: "I double-booked and didn't realize until yesterday."
  3. Express regret: "I feel horrible--it was very inconsiderate and will not happen again!"
  4. Peace offering: "Let me take you out for a drink, I promise I'll come through this time."
I immediately ripped the page out and planned this blog post. Yes! After almost two months of living long distance, communication is key in all of your relationships, especially your romantic one, and apologies are so vital! And although I'm mostly always right (pretty much), it's hard to be married to someone as sweet and thoughtful as Brett is. I'm no longer the one who is always completely right :)

Thus, twenty-four years after the soapy-mouthed afternoon, I know the true value of a good apology. It's not just me, either, I mean, the Hubby is pretty damn near perfect most times (ugh! How annoying, right?!) but we are both really good at the apology. And let me tell you, "I'm sorry" are the most liberating and wonderful words ever! They improve relationships with family, friends, colleagues, everyone. So, please, embrace it--but not too much, then it's just sad. 

I hope this post wasn't too Pollyanna for y'all, but I thought some of us just need a reminder once in awhile. Politeness and grace never go out of style!

And don't forget...

...and misadventure :)

Have a lovely week!


  1. This was such a great post E!!!! Now I want to pick up that issue of Self.

  2. Much mahalos, Tabitha! I love Self, one of my fave mags for sure :) Xx


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