Monday, October 26, 2015

Book excerpts 1

Saying sorry is in my DNA. Part of my birthright, you might say. I am Asian, therefore I apologise. Sorry, but there it is. 

Okay, full stop.

These were excerpts taken from 'Sorry: The Hardest Word and How to Use It' by Max Davidson. I found the book was amusing and made me think about the art of apologizing. I shared it with you so that you could have a look and try to read the book. And maybe we could discuss it together? :)

1. For if one never apologised, never admitted one was in the wrong, what chance was there of becoming a good person?

2. For as long as I could remember I had used the s-word at every opportunity; to appease parents, teachers, friends and total strangers. The apologies did me good - like prunes or yogurt. 

3. I believe in the s-word. Like 'please' and 'thank you', it makes the world go round.

4. I take the blame because taking the blame is easier than not taking blame. Just misplaced chivalry, some would say, but what is wrong with a bit of chivalry in our backbitting world? Lunch is amicable, when it could have opened on a sour note.

5. As a society, we remain besotted with the s-word. It enjoys totemic status, binding the whole tribe together. 'Just say you're sorry' has become one of the drumbeats of the age. New apologies are demanded every day.

6. We tell ourselves that if only someone says sorry, everything will be all right and we can all live happily ever after. But how often is the apology that has been demanded forthcoming, and in a form that gives satisfaction to all concerned?

7. For many, saying sorry has become as laborious as giving birth.

8. Saying sorry has also been made harder by the intransigence of those who refuse to apologise on principle. Two concurrent but contradictory trends can be discerned: a trend for apologising more and more, particularly for things like the slave trade; and as a reaction to the first trend, matched with Newtonian precision, a trend for viewing all apologies as a form of emotional self-indulgence.

9. The paradox of the word 'sorry' is that a versatile word, useful in all kinds of different contexts, is also an incredibly hard word to use correctly. It may be versatile, but it is also ambiguous. How often do we want to apologise but become tongue-tied and defensive?

10. Nothing kills an apology quicker than insincerity. 

11. The more successful people are, the more reluctant they are to apologise, which is perhaps not suprising. Behind most successful careers there is an element of ruthlessness, a disinclination to worry about upsetting other people.

12. Will an apology make me look better or worse than a refusal to apologise?

13. An apology is not a gesture, a verbal mannerism: it must come from the heart.

14. In some situations - for example, if you have bumped into someone in the street - saying sorry is just an instinctive, spur-of-the-moment thing. Out the world rushed, like a cough or sneeze: it is almost as if you have no control over your own reflexes. But in more emotionally charged situations, when you have hurt someone you love or had ablazung row with a work colleague, apologising does not have that effortless simplicity. It must begin with a period of honest introspection.

15. Saying sorry is, or should be, a pure act, like making a declaration of love.

16. Call me a cynic, but I am always sceptical about apologies delivered on a floor tide of emotion. If you are truly contrite, it is the hurt you have caused the other person, and their emotions - not your own distress, genuine though it might be - that should have priority. To turn your apology into a self-serving pantomime of a grief is a form of discourtesy. You need to demonstrate remorse - that goes without saying - but it must not be remorse of the the theatrical, exaggerated kind. A little sobriety is required.

without wax,
haniyahaya :)

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