At least on the surface, I’ve written two seemingly contradictory entries about apologizing. In one, I ask people to stop saying “sorry.” In another, I argue that you should sometimes feel sorry for telling people how you feel.
Yeah, well, I stand by both posts.
Actually, the two articles don’t actually contradict each other. People really should stop reflexively apologizing, whether for no good reason or because apologizing means little without considering the reason you should feel sorry and thinking through how you can prevent harm in the future.
So, yes, you should feel sorry sometimes. Including times when you’ve willy-nilly and indiscriminately spewed your feelings all over the place.
Yet occasions must exist for which it makes sense to call foul for feeling sorry:
- No one should feel sorry for experiencing and enjoying the fruits of his hard labor and honest success.
- No one should feel sorry for staying true to what she likes and how she dresses and wears her hair. No one should feel sorry for his sexual orientation.
- No one should ever feel sorry for speaking up in unjust situations, whether for herself or on the behalf of someone else, no matter how awkward it may make bystanders feel.
Perhaps you can feel badly that your success thwarted someone’s plans, winning the race and putting them in second, and perhaps you can feel sorry that, in staying true to yourself, someone’s feelings got hurt or they felt jealous. Even still, feeling sorry for the side effects doesn’t parallel to feeling sorry for their cause.
Chime in here, my friends.
For what should we never feel sorry?