Have you ever had someone apologize for their behavior only to have them repeat the behavior later? We probably all have. The words are meaningless. The behavior that is the only way to know someone is sorry. If they say the words yet do nothing about it, they are not sincere in their apology.
People who are familiar with AA are told the only apology is changed behavior. I’m only familiar with them through a relative’s long-term relationship with them. He has truly changed his behavior, apologized, and made amends. The saying has struck me deeply. Once I heard it, I thought, “Yes!” Remember it next time you apologize to someone. Mean it when you say it. And don’t behave that way again. By keeping your word and acting out your apology, you become trustworthy.
Saying and doing are two completely different things. A person who keeps doing the same things over and over has no true remorse. If you choose to believe them, then are treated the same way, you need to think deeply about what you really want, how you will allow people to treat you, and if you can believe someone who doesn’t keep their word. You are the only one who can come to that conclusion.
Yes, we want to be understanding. Yes, it’s an admirable trait and very healing. Understanding must not used as an excuse or reason to allow unacceptable behavior. You do yourself no good, and you do the other person no good by tolerating less than acceptable behavior. Don’t let them tell you they’re sorry and never fix their actions. You will make miles of progress yourself in calling them out.
I did this exact thing a couple weeks ago. I was disrespected by someone in a public way. I told them they would never talk to me that way again. It was not acceptable. They apologized. I did not accept as I’d seen them behave that way before. I told them the only apology was changed behavior. I hope it made a difference.
I’d like to thank my youngest brother for teaching me this. It has made a huge difference in what I’ll tolerate and what I won’t. What have you learned today? Is it something you can share? Did it make you believe in yourself more? Do you stand taller for practicing it? I hope so. Have a beautiful rest of the day. See you tomorrow.