Friday, October 14, 2011

Sorry, the magic word that does wonders

Apologizing is not a sign of weakness but strength

I like to share a inspiring true story about a close friend mine. I was impressed by his actions which he narrated to me in relation to an incident he encountered recently.

The story of humility

His daughter after leaving school managed to get a job in a legal firm. Apparently at the interview for the job she had promised the employer that she would stay permanently in her job as she was interested to pursue a career in Law. However after some months she realized that she did not find the job satisfying and she decided to resign pursue a career in business. She submitted her resignation letter in accordance with the agreement but that was the start of the nightmares for this young and inexperienced girl facing the cruel world for the first time.

Her employer,a lawyer by profession, was very furious that she had breached the terms of her contract. He felt cheated by her for breaking her promise to stay long. He refused to pay her the final month salary and insisted she pay compensation for having “cheated” him resulting in financial losses for him. The young girl was so shocked and informed her father who was so angry that he reported to the labor office and the case was scheduled to be heard in the labor court.

He decided to confront her boss and on doing so was told off rudely and he demanded letter of apology from his daughter, failing which he would meet her in court to claim compensation and ask the court to mete out other form of punishment for breach of trust. My friend and his wife were so angry that they refused to give in and were prepared to go to court. All sorts of acts of revenge went through his mind from damaging his car to employing people to hurt him. He was so angry with the lawyer boss who could be so mean to damage the career of his innocent daughter.

On the eve of the court hearing, the father, being a God fearing man, spent some solitary moments reflecting on what was happening. He finally came to his senses violence and vengeance was the solution but on the contrary humility was the way out. He believed nobody was greater than God and if that God Himself wants him to apologize, there is nothing wrong to say sorry to the boss and let God deal with the him at His own pace and time.

He quickly typed out a letter of apology and made her daughter sign it.The next day the girl submitted the letter to the employer who was quick to forgive her, pay her salary and withdrew the case against her. The problem was so quickly and easily solved just with a simple letter of apology, although the girl and her parents were convinced she did not do any wrong.
My friend too was so surprised that the speed and ease with the problem was settled amicably and this is what he has to say,“It may be extremely difficult and painful to say sorry to someone we may be angry with but it is worth doing so even if we feel we are right to avoid or solve a lot of heartaches and problems”. This I take as an advice for all of us as we meet with such problems daily in our own lives.

The lesson for us

Apologizing is a virtue which is a basic tenet of every religion. The Cambridge Online dictionary defines the word ‘sorry’ as the feeling of sadness, sympathy, or disappointment, especially because something unpleasant has happened or has been done and apology is an act of saying sorry to the person whom we have caused that unpleasant feeling.

Today the vast majority of conflicts in our families, places of work, our society and the world in general are caused by people who refuse to apologize for whatever mistake they have committed or harm they could have caused to others. Even after having proven wrong there are many who refuse to say sorry. The word“sorry” is such a simple word but is the most difficult to say as apologizing would mean admitting once guilt which our ego will not allow such humble act.

If only we have the humility to say sorry to those who are hurt by us, the world will be a better place for all as all inter-personal problems, misunderstandings and disputes can all be amicably solved. Every religion teaches repentance and forgiveness but lack of these basic virtues among their followers is the fundamental cause of inter-religious disputes and violence throughout the history of mankind.

My friend went to see his daughter’s employer with so much anger prepared to even hurt him but after deep thought and reflection he adopted the path of humility which brought peace, goodwill and even justice to his daughter in the end. All he had to do was humble himself to say sorry, the magic word that did wonders.

We too meet with such problems almost daily in our lives. Are we prepared to say the magic word “sorry” whenever we seem to have hurt someone even unintentionally?Are we willing to say sorry even to those whom we think are unjust to us? If only we can do that, like my friend, our life will be more peaceful and rewarding. We must remember that humility in apologizing is not a sign of weakness but strength.

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