Civility and manners,  Friendship and relationship advice

Owning our mistakes

“Sorry doesn’t take things back, but it pushes things forward. It bridges the gap. Sorry is a sacrament. It’s an offering. A gift.” ~Craig Silvey

Mistakes were made. Commentator William Saffire once described the phrase as “a passive-evasive way of acknowledging an error while distancing the speaker from responsibility for it.” In other words, “Mistakes were made” isn’t a real apology.

As today’s quote reminds us, a real apology is an offering. An apology shows that you accept your responsibility for a mistake, which elevates you in the eyes of the person you’ve hurt. On the other hand, making excuses for your errors — or trying to justify them — has the opposite effect. Likewise, pretending that a mistake didn’t happen, or ignoring it, won’t make it disappear.

Unacknowledged blunders, unresolved conflicts, and unhealed wounds can linger for years and erode a relationship. When mistakes are made, small or large, it’s best to put on your grown-up underpants and say, “I’m truly sorry. I was wrong. I made a mistake. How can I mend this?” ~CL

Throughout my career, I've worked as a book production editor, travel magazine editor, features writer, and weekly newspaper columnist. My award-winning lifestyles features and essays have appeared in many national magazines and anthologies, including Newsweek, Reader's Digest, The Christian Science Monitor, Writer's Digest, Victoria, Better Homes & Gardens, Bella Grace, and more. My weekly Sunday "Life Lines" column ran for 14 years in The Daily Tribune (Royal Oak, MI) and won a First Place (Local Columns) award from the Michigan Press Association. My essay collection, Writing Home, includes 93 previously published columns and essays focusing on parenthood and family life.

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