Out on a Limb
A Monthly Newsletter from Martha Clark Scala
Invest in bringing joy back to your life.
June 2011

 

 

Welcome to Out on a Limb, a monthly newsletter from Martha Clark Scala. This free e-zine is meant to invite and inspire you to maximize the joy in your life.
The Goodness of “My Bad”

In 1970, a popular movie’s tagline was “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” I must protest with an emphatic “au contraire” (translation: on the contrary)! What intimate, platonic or professional relationship would not benefit from each person’s ability to say “I’m sorry” when they have done something wrong? If both parties have the ability AND willingness to make amends, this bodes well for the relationship.

It is now 2011, and “my bad” seems to have trumped “I’m sorry” as the shortest path to an apology. These phrases usually work but it depends on such factors as context, tone of voice, presence or absence of attitude, etc. What needs to happen when we are making amends? It is crucial that we convey an empathic awareness that our behavior (something said, done, not said, not done) has adversely impacted another person. Whether we say “my bad” or “I’m sorry” or pad it with many other words, we must let the other person know that we take responsibility for the harm we have caused. If you feel the harm was unintentional, you may feel the pull to justify or defend your behavior. Try to hold off! Explanations or rationalizations delivered at the same time as an apology tend to negate the healing potential of making amends. If you can wait until your apology has been received and digested, the opportunity may then arise to ask “are you willing to hear more about this?” If and only if you get an affirmative response, proceed with caution.

I don’t mean to make this sound easy. To be artful at saying you’re sorry requires a willingness to be vulnerable, to be seen as imperfect (i.e to be a human being), and enough faith in the other person to trust that your amends will not result in a retaliatory ambush. Yikes! It takes courage to work that apology muscle. Try to keep this muscle strong by regularly working it rather than letting it atrophy.


Don’t Delay

The sooner you deliver your apology, the better. Otherwise, you run the risk that the person whom you have hurt or wronged is unable to receive your amends due to a hardened heart. The last thing you need is a “too little too late” response, no? However, you cannot hurry an apology, either. If you try to force one before you are ready, you run the risk of either being or appearing insincere, and that puts you in deeper water!

 

Payoffs

If you are contemplating whether or not to say you are sorry, consider these potential payoffs:

  1. Relationship harmony can be restored.
  2. Joy becomes more likely.
  3. You might feel better about yourself.
  4. Others may apologize to you more readily. (What goes around comes around.)
  5. It’s exhausting being right all the time.

Your June 2011 Prompts for Joy

Click here for an amazing piece of art created with glue and dust.

Click here for a short reflection on word selection. (grab a tissue)

With thanks to Bobbi Emel and Cheryl Richardson for telling me about these videos.


“Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace”

                                                                                    ~ Buddha


Joy-Gram for June 2011

What one word could you utter, either to yourself or to someone else, to promote peace? If one word is too brief, shoot for a short phrase.

Pictured Above

This photograph of the bulbous Buddha was taken by Bill Scala.

 

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Disclaimer
By no means do I have joy “figured out.” Please do not assume that I do! I write Out On a Limb as much as a meditation for myself in the ongoing pursuit of joy, as for you. I think this pursuit is a lifelong journey and that the full experience of joy is, at best, episodic. May we all have more episodes!

 

Martha Clark Scala, MFT • 721 Colorado Ave., Suite 201, Palo Alto, CA 94303 •
info@MCScala.com

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