I’ve been sick as puppy for the past 4 days nursing malaria and flu [and aunty flo thought it was the funnest time to join the party too] so it’s been one hell of a sick cocktail. I’m not the type of person who lays in bed and acts like I’m about to die when I’m ill plus I hardly fall sick, so when I actually lay in bed, you know it really got to me. So in-between the malaria hallucinations, the uncountable rolls of tissue and nose blowing, the fluctuating temperature and inability to sleep in certain positions, I started getting stir crazy wondering where I could just go and sit and watch people and nobody will side eye me for blowing my nose every second? No where! So I did the next best thing to cheer myself up – made myself some lemon+ginger+honey tea and watched my favourite movie of all time – PRETTY WOMAN. And then it started raining… perfect weather!
If you know me, you know this is it. I can recite the entire lines in Pretty Woman from start to finish. It is my all-time favourite movie in the whole world and I can watch it every day. I think the world of Julia Roberts and her magical-musical-beautiful-widest-toothiest-MostSincereSounding-belly laugh. And I’m not alone because a quick trip to google will show you that the “Julia Roberts laugh” is actually a thing and it has quite the following. People wey sabi better thing!
Just listen to this!
Cute Story: Did you know the infamous necklace scene wasn’t actually planned? Apparently, Julia wasn’t feeling well during filming and so to make her laugh, Richard shut the case and her reaction was so perfect, they decided to keep it in the movie. Awww 🙂
Anyways, so I’m watching Vivian Ward steal Edward Lewis’ heart one belly laugh at a time and I’m laughing rather loudly from my couch when the movie gets to this part I’m not very giddy about – the fight scene after the polo event. If you haven’t seen Pretty Woman and therefore don’t know what I’m talking about, I’m sorry but I can’t believe you. Anyone who reads this blog should have watched that movie at least 10 times [I’ll add this to my header]; but I’m feeling generous right now so I’ll recap a bit. Here goes – Edward takes Vivian to this Polo event during which due to the incessant heckling from his evil stocky short lawyer friend [whose name is Stuckey… OMG I just clocked this. How Fitting!!!] he reveals that Vivian is indeed a prostitute. Expectedly, Stuckey proceeds to troll Vivian with this information and even propositions her and it all leads to Vivian and Edward getting into their first major fight. Big! Huge! [catch the plug?]
Like I mentioned, I’ve watched this movie more times than I can count but for the first time something struck me that I hadn’t noticed before about this scene. You know how you can listen to a song one million times but depending on where you are mentally or what you’re going through in that particular time in your life, one part of the song suddenly resonates on a level you’ve never experienced before? There! That’s exactly what happened yesterday.
Vivian: You hurt me
Vivian: Don’t do it again
Edward: Nods and blinks in affirmative.
Listen people! When you’ve hurt someone and they come out with it to you, just the singular act of accepting and acknowledging their hurt/feelings is enough to diffuse the situation. When someone tells you you’ve hurt them, they’re hoping that you understand how your actions/inactions affected them; that’s not the time to start arguing about your thought process or how you see things [you can do this at a later time] but in that moment, just acknowledge their hurt and genuinely mean it. You literally cripple and weaken them and only a difficult/crazy person will continue with fire after that. As in the movie, see how fired up Vivian had been, she packed her things and was ready to leave; but after that apology, she turned and went back into the suite and that marked the beginning of a deeper more genuine relationship for them.
Now if you’ve watched the movie, you know very well that Edward didn’t mean to belittle/hurt Vivian when he exasperatedly announced to Stuckey that Vivian was a prostitute. He was caught off guard and truly hadn’t envisaged answering questions about them or even being public with their relationship; plus, he was jealous when he saw her talking to David Morse[from the company they were looking to take over] but none of this mattered. When she said “you hurt me”, his only response was “yes”. Nothing more, just YES. In that moment, he prioritized her feelings. It didn’t matter what the facts were, it didn’t matter what his argument could have been, it didn’t matter the what/how/when/where; all that mattered was that she felt some type of way and he recognized that and was sorry. Simple! THIS IS HOW YOU DO AN APOLOGY. None of you, all of the aggrieved.
This to me is what constitutes a sincere and heartfelt apology.
Another thing that can make an apology extraordinary is the awareness that you have to let people come full circle on their terms. What do I mean? See when you apologise for a wrong and the person isn’t ready to accept it yet, you have to back off and let them stew and then maybe try again at another time and hope that by then they’d have come around. This is of course based on the assumption that the relationship is still important to you and you still want them in your life. There are times when people apologise for a wrong and when the wronged person rejects the apology, the wrongdoer gets mad and starts saying things like – “but I apologized, what else do you want me to do?”. In that moment, you’ve made the apology become about yourself and not the wronged person. Let people come around on their terms; chances are, that way, the emotions have fully being dealt with and there’s no residue hurt lingering to pose a threat at a later time.
One of my best male friends is someone I swore I’d never ever speak to. We had a rough patch in 2010 and he reached out to me almost immediately and apologised but I wasn’t hearing it and we pretty much existed like that until 3 years later I log on facebook on a random day and see that someone we both knew from uni had passed away. He says he saw I’d commented on the post and decided to send me a friend request which I accepted almost immediately and it wasn’t long before we were back to abusing each other everyday on whatsapp [that’s our love language]. He’s truly one of my favourite people, he makes me laugh till my sides hurt and I can be myself with him and not worry. Best guy! I had missed him too but chances are, if he had tried to talk to me sooner than he did, I still wouldn’t have listened. See, nothing about our fight/circumstance/story had changed, it was just that time had passed so I was in a better place mentally and thus ready to let it go, it was all me. I needed to get to the point where I was willing to squash it, on my terms and I’m just glad he was still willing as well. Because, let’s face it, there are times when you’re finally ready to squash the beef but the other person has completely moved on and that will suck but it’s a chance we must take. There’s no other way around it.
I’ve also been on the other side of the spectrum where it was me who was desperate for my apology to be heard/acknowledged/accepted and the person just wasn’t ready. This person didn’t even tell me what I did wrong, they just slowly X’d me out of their life and by the time I realized what was happening, I was already completely on the outside by myself and it hurt me so much because I would never have done that to them. In that moment, I could have taken my righteous indignation and rode off into the horizon but I didn’t. I put myself in that person’s shoes and tried to understand where they were coming from ALL BY MYSELF as they wouldn’t even talk to me. I sent messages, texts, emails, called our mutual friends, pleaded, solicited in every way I could even to an embarrassing point just to be heard because that’s just the person I am. I want to be able to look back at every interaction with anyone who ever mattered to me and know that I did everything within my power to right a perceived wrongdoing, because…..hyper-active conscience. It didn’t work. We still don’t speak but it’s not because of me as I soon realized the entire charade of anger was a facade at assuaging a guilty conscience that had nothing to do with me.
Once, I unknowingly hurt a friend and she stopped picking my calls, I was so worried and made all attempts to speak with her; when we eventually talked, I apologized and further asked that going forward, if we ever have a problem, she should please just talk to me about it like an adult. A few months go by and she stops picking my calls again…. We haven’t spoken since then and it’s been almost 2 years. I was done!! Done because I knew that if I reached out to her YET AGAIN to try and figure out what was wrong YET AGAIN, then that was going to become the dynamic of our relationship set in stone; where she’s always on one while i’m always the one scurrying around to figure out what it was and I just can’t live like that. Adults should address issues like adult. If I’m not speaking to you and it doesn’t bother you and you’re not speaking to me and it doesn’t bother me then I think we both know what that means for our relationship/friendship. I feel like the sheer effort I or anyone puts into trying to understand why/when someone is mad at them [especially when that person wont say why] is indicative of the fact that they care; because trust me, there are people who don’t speak to me and I feel like I should write them a thank you note like – don’t ever stop! Don’t ever start. Ha ha.
I personally prefer for people to be forthright with me when I’ve upset/wronged them. Just tell me! But I’m a hypocrite because I don’t always tell people when they’ve upset me [at least not immediately]. I would eventually do so at some point but I always stew first [partly because it never ends well when I speak in anger]. So I know what it can be like; waiting for people to come around can be tough but like I said, if the relationship is important, you’d figure it out. And wait.
Another type of apology I personally detest is when people say – “I’m sorry you feel that way”. I feel like its insincere and it just doesn’t show me that the person understands or accepts the part they played in hurting me, but they’re apologizing anyways for how I may have understood their actions. In other words – I’m not sorry for what I did, I’m sorry for how you understood/interpreted it. I remember I once discussed this with a friend and he explained that when he uses that line, he’s actually acknowledging their feelings and that I’m too hung up on semantics. Lol. Maybe I am, maybe it’s true but till date, “I’m sorry you feel that way” just doesn’t ring as a sincere apology to me.
Remember though that sometimes, people don’t always set out meaning to offend/upset us, but because we are all human, shit happens so let’s try to cut each other slack. The litmus test is in the effort put into making it right. There’s probably one person/situation some of us have held on to and are waiting for an apology about….. let it go. Sometimes, you have to be okay with an apology that never came/will never come. But if it ever comes, it’ll just be a pleasant surprise. Don’t wait on it.
What do you think constitutes a sincere apology?
PS: I’m feeling a lot better, malaria has subsided considerably, I’ve only gone through one tissue roll today and my nose doesn’t feel so sore anymore. But I’m so bored, one of you should find a way to cheer me up….. movie/cheesecake ha ha 😀