Fine-tuning apologies ~ a growth edge

Dear President Trump,

Back in March I told you that for Lent I would work on curbing my reflexive apologizing and improving my follow through on harder, sincerely necessary apologies. I’ve not said anything about this in my letters to you since then, but I’ve thought about it every day because inevitably I do things like apologize to the table for knocking into it, hear someone else do the equivalent of that, or need to talk myself into stepping up to apologize for a real transgression. I’m not sure an outside observer would have noticed much difference as there were probably about the same number of auto-apologies before and after the start of Lent and only one or two more real apologies. Nonetheless, I think the exercise was worthwhile since I’ve had many years to hone my auto-apologizing such that I routinely found they’ve popped out of my mouth with no frontal lobe engagement whatsoever. They still pop out unbidden, but at least I notice it, and I have managed to stop a small handful.

Then there are real apologies. I’m nowhere near as averse to making them as you are, but I still find them hard. Sitting with whatever I did to trigger the need for an apology is hard, as is facing whomever it is I hurt, so yeah, real apologies pretty much suck.

I’m all over this today because I felt compelled to issue a real apology yesterday. In a meeting where someone was looking for feedback on a study design for a grant he is writing, I was several degrees too harsh in my appraisal of the problems with his favored design. I told him that if I were on the review panel, I would tank it. Although I stand by my assessment of the design flaw, I feel badly about not having come up with a way to frame it diplomatically and this is what I apologized for. I hope he accepts it and I hope going through the quite painful exercise of sending that email helps me slow myself down in the future. I honestly didn’t mean to take a potshot at him, but I am 99% certain this is how it came across and that is on me to work on.

BTW, I want to go on record that aside from the occasional factual error or misspelling, I do not feel I have anything at all to apologize to you or your props for. At all. Nor do I feel the Democrats, George Conway, or anyone else who is striving to hold you all to account, has anything at all to apologize for. You may be able to get some good mileage with your base out of this particular twisted fun-house response to the Mueller report, but you and I both know it’s a disingenuous (aka bullshit) move.

May we be safe to apologize when necessary and not when not.
May we be happy (or at least willing) to learn from our mistakes.
May those who need to, have the strength to take the high road and apologize when they f*cking betray their country.
May we not start wars of any magnitude to cover our transgressions.

Tracy Simpson

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