I hate this time of year.
I hate personal growth that gets scheduled on a calendar. A month where everyone goes on their best behavior, like they’re being audited by some heavenly oversight authority.
I hate scripted apologies. A specific time of year wherever everyone needs to ask everyone else to forgive them at the exact same time.
Aww, isn’t it nice that there’s a time a year where people work to become better people and rectify any social inequities?
No it isn’t.
Every day is a day for personal growth. Interpersonal dynamics deserve more importance than a general “please forgive me” posted to Facebook. This smacks of pleasing a god at a specific time of year who might judge you for some sin on an invisible ledger in the sky.
Oh wait, that’s exactly what’s happening here. You only want to become a better person, to ask for forgiveness from man and god, so that you get another good year to be your mediocre self.
The way I see it, there are four kinds of interpersonal transgressions:
- Those that you have forgotten about, or didn’t realize you’ve made, in which case it’s the other person’s duty to remind you.
- The one where you remember, but aren’t sure if they have. You’ll need to gently inquire if they are waiting for an apology from you, or if you’ll just be making worse by bringing this up.
- The ones where you both know about the issue. Why are you waiting until a specific time in the year to work through this? Go to therapy, do the work, apologize when you’re ready.
- The ones where both of you have forgotten. The vast majority of offenses fit into this category. Only god remembers. So why are we even talking?
Then there’s the obsession with actually being forgiven. As if that’s in your control. Asking over and over again, as though groveling has ever brought healing to another person.
All you can control is the apology, specifically the personal growth that should be underlying it.
The behaviors that must speak louder than your words.