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MEA CULPA

1
We Brits are masters of saying sorry. Apparently we apologise, on average, eight times a day.  It’s one of the most over-used words in our vocabulary and is a knee-jerk reaction to almost any circumstance. We use it as a form of ‘negative politeness’ so we appear well-mannered and modest.
We use it when we ask for something: “I’m sorry but could we get the bill please?”

We use it to help us in embarrassing situations: “Sorry! Think that was me. Last night’s curry. Sorry again.”

We use it when we bump into someone: “Oh

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sorry! I didn’t see you there.”

We use it to be polite: “I’m sorry to bother you, but is anyone sitting here?”

We use it when we call someone on the phone:  “Sorry to call you so late! I know Corrie is about to start…”

We use it when someone calls us and it’s their mistake: “Sorry, but I think you have the wrong number.”

We use it when we are late: “Traffic was awful. Sorry I’m late.”

And when we are early: “Sorry I’m a little early. Roads were clear.”

We use it to express sympathy: “I’m so so

SelfishMother.com
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sorry to hear about your brother.”

We use it when we mishear something: “Sorry?”

We use it to interject. “Sorry, can I just butt in there.”

We use it when we hand over a large note to pay for a cup of coffee. “Sorry, it’s all I have.”

We use it to express delight: “Oh wow, exciting! Sorry I can’t stop smiling.”

We use it to express surprise: “ARGHHHH Jeez. Sorry! You startled me!”

We use it ALL the time. So why do we struggle using this word for the purpose it was cultivated for?

We were taught as kids

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to apologise to our siblings, friends or parents if we were hurtful or upset someone:

“Yeah I’m like sorry I flushed your doll down the toilet…”

Even if we begrudgingly said it. With a smirk. With our fingers crossed behind our back so only your sister could see. And then whispered “I’m not really, cos you started it” in her ear as you sauntered by her bedroom minutes later.

It’s only years later we understand the concept of apologising in its truest form, and how it is interwoven with elements of self-recognition, human pride,

SelfishMother.com
5
self-righteousness and that inner battle of not appearing submissive or vulnerable.

But enter stage right: Pride. Stubbornness. Arrogance. Disrespect. And our old friend Ego.

We, as humans like to defend our positive self-image. An apology can sometimes feel like an admission that we are inadequate. We don’t want to apologise because we don’t want to feel bad about ourselves or appear flawed. But nobody is perfect. And we all try to flush our sister’s Barbie doll down the toilet at some stage of our lives.

An apology is one of the most

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important principles in life. It’s the epoxy glue in a kitchen of broken plates. It can sort a hairline crack or possibly something smashed into smithereens. The plate might not be as sturdy or robust as before.  It won’t hold a chicken dinner. But it might sustain the weight of a pork pie.

For most misdemeanours those two words, backed with genuine remorse and a hug is often all that is required. More severe transgressions might require more effort and a genuine hard look at your actions. Some sins may be simply unforgiveable.

But it starts

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here, with an olive branch and whatever words you choose: I apologise – I’m sorry – It was my fault – Please forgive me – I fucked up.  A sad faced emoji might be a start. Even My Bad is better than nothing (if you’re 12). Because without an apology there is no forgiveness. Without forgiveness there is conflict. With conflict there is no truce. And as a community and a nation we need peace and reconciliation.

Saying sorry may mean the plate will still never, ever return to its former glory. But in life nothing ever retains its

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pristine brand-new spotless condition. I’m sorry to say, we are all a little cracked and broken and mostly held together with super glue.
SelfishMother.com
Karen

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- 26 Oct 20

We Brits are masters of saying sorry. Apparently we apologise, on average, eight times a day.  It’s one of the most over-used words in our vocabulary and is a knee-jerk reaction to almost any circumstance. We use it as a form of ‘negative politeness’ so we appear well-mannered and modest.

We use it when we ask for something“I’m sorry but could we get the bill please?”

We use it to help us in embarrassing situations: “Sorry! Think that was me. Last night’s curry. Sorry again.”

We use it when we bump into someone: “Oh sorry! I didn’t see you there.”

We use it to be polite: “I’m sorry to bother you, but is anyone sitting here?”

We use it when we call someone on the phone:  “Sorry to call you so late! I know Corrie is about to start...”

We use it when someone calls us and it’s their mistake: “Sorry, but I think you have the wrong number.”

We use it when we are late: “Traffic was awful. Sorry I’m late.”

And when we are early: “Sorry I’m a little early. Roads were clear.”

We use it to express sympathy: “I’m so so sorry to hear about your brother.”

We use it when we mishear something: “Sorry?”

We use it to interject. “Sorry, can I just butt in there.”

We use it when we hand over a large note to pay for a cup of coffee. “Sorry, it’s all I have.”

We use it to express delight: “Oh wow, exciting! Sorry I can’t stop smiling.”

We use it to express surprise: “ARGHHHH Jeez. Sorry! You startled me!”

We use it ALL the time. So why do we struggle using this word for the purpose it was cultivated for?

We were taught as kids to apologise to our siblings, friends or parents if we were hurtful or upset someone:

Yeah I’m like sorry I flushed your doll down the toilet…”

Even if we begrudgingly said it. With a smirk. With our fingers crossed behind our back so only your sister could see. And then whispered “I’m not really, cos you started it” in her ear as you sauntered by her bedroom minutes later.

It’s only years later we understand the concept of apologising in its truest form, and how it is interwoven with elements of self-recognition, human pride, self-righteousness and that inner battle of not appearing submissive or vulnerable.

But enter stage right: Pride. Stubbornness. Arrogance. Disrespect. And our old friend Ego.

We, as humans like to defend our positive self-image. An apology can sometimes feel like an admission that we are inadequate. We don’t want to apologise because we don’t want to feel bad about ourselves or appear flawed. But nobody is perfect. And we all try to flush our sister’s Barbie doll down the toilet at some stage of our lives.

An apology is one of the most important principles in life. It’s the epoxy glue in a kitchen of broken plates. It can sort a hairline crack or possibly something smashed into smithereens. The plate might not be as sturdy or robust as before.  It won’t hold a chicken dinner. But it might sustain the weight of a pork pie.

For most misdemeanours those two words, backed with genuine remorse and a hug is often all that is required. More severe transgressions might require more effort and a genuine hard look at your actions. Some sins may be simply unforgiveable.

But it starts here, with an olive branch and whatever words you choose: I apologise – I’m sorry – It was my fault – Please forgive me – I fucked up.  A sad faced emoji might be a start. Even My Bad is better than nothing (if you’re 12). Because without an apology there is no forgiveness. Without forgiveness there is conflict. With conflict there is no truce. And as a community and a nation we need peace and reconciliation.

Saying sorry may mean the plate will still never, ever return to its former glory. But in life nothing ever retains its pristine brand-new spotless condition. I’m sorry to say, we are all a little cracked and broken and mostly held together with super glue.

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Karen

Karen Southall is married with two kids, a boy of 12 and a girl of 15. She lives in a rural village in Southern Spain and writes about gambling for a B2B publication and freelances about glamping and alternative living via TwoStepsFreelance.

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