Friday, March 19, 2021

Admit. Atone. Ask.

There have been several recent incidents in the media that have me thinking about sincere apologies and patterns of behavior that belie it. 

Public apologies by public figures should first be to the individual(s) that they’ve wronged. If they first apologize to the public, they need your money or your attention (or both) and chances are, the apology is NOT sincere. We have seen it too many times, with celebrities, politicians, media figures and so on. They are trying to save a livelihood, not heal a rift. 

I do not actually care about drama with public figures of any kind. What I observe are patterns of behavior. We as the public/consumers of various things should be more discerning. When we recognize these patterns we won’t be taken in easily by people who deceive us, nor will we be be complicit in toxic patterns of behavior. Once we recognize it in one it’s easier to recognize it going forward (with practice). 

The first key is (of course) to not put individuals on pedestals, they are bound to fall. The second is observe if the behavior, are they taking actions to atone for their mistakes or jumping right to forgiveness? The third and I’m sorry to say, we cannot take everything at face value. There are many people who are very good at being deceptive and we must use discernment to determine if certain people further warrant our time and energy. 

Real reconciliation starts with these basic three elements: 1. Admit the mistake, 2. Atone for it. Be accountable for ones actions. 3. Ask for forgiveness. Just like in math, there is an order of operation. You cannot skip steps. When one does not first admit they did something wrong it is not an apology, there is still pride involve and there is no way beyond the first step without admission. If a person asks for forgiveness without admitting the mistake, simply ask, what are you asking forgiveness for? Or what are you apologizing for.m? Wash rinse repeat if they keep trying to skip ahead to forgiveness. 

This is applicable not just with public figures but in daily life, relationships, and social situations.  This awareness comes from years of direct personal experiences with people with people narcissistic behavior and clinically diagnosed narcissists. It also comes from my observances of many people over the years, public and private. 

There are far more narcissists amongst us than we are aware of and it is clear that social media has nurtured narcissistic behavior. We don’t have to be on guard but we certainly should be aware. I hope this helps. 

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