Today I am reposting a blog I did for Action4AgricultureChat to allow me to also repost this wonderful post from The Ethics Centre “I’m sorry *if* I offended you”: How to apologise better in an emotionally avoidant world
If we are honest with ourselves we can all be difficult to deal with if some-one touches the wrong buttons at the wrong time.
I manage a capability building program for young people who are “doers” and changemakers
I often find myself fielding calls asking for advice on how to handle people who are resistant to change
The first thing I say is “This is not my area of expertise”
Whilst I have done multiple workshops across the world with world class experts like Amy. Its one thing to learn the theory, its another to put into into practice, another to find safe spaces to practice it and the mega important one finding the role models in the Compassion Curiosity Framework space that you can surround yourself with, learn from and channel when you need to
What my years of training has allowed me to do is identify the people who do it well and they make my heart sing
I saw an extraordinary example when I watched Series 12 Episode 2 of Call the Midwife recently
This 4 min video collates the scenes that I am referring to. Watch how Sister Julienne role models the Compassionate Curiosity Framework ( hear Kwame Christian talk about the framework here )
1. Acknowledging emotion
2. Getting curious with compassion
3. Engaging in joint problem solving
what an ideal time to extract this from Sarah Wilson The Ethics Centre post
What *if* we offend or harm unintentionally?
I was presented with the above ethical quandary while writing this. Someone on social media commented that she’d wanted to approach me recently but felt she couldn’t because she had two kids in tow at the time. She figured I’d judge her for being a “procreator” given my climate activism work and anti-consumption stance. It was an unfortunate assumption. I had only last week written about how bringing population growth into the climate crisis blame-fest is wrong, ethically and factually (it’s not how many we are, it’s how we live).
Of course, her self-conscious pain was real. But did I need to repent if I’d done nothing wrong, and certainly not intentionally (indeed, I’d not acted, in bad faith or otherwise).
I decided there was still a very good opportunity to switch out an “if” for a “that”. I replied: “I’m sorry that you felt….”. And I was. I didn’t want her to have that impression of judgement from another, nor to feel so self-conscious. I was sorry in the broad sense of feeling bad for her. Feeling sorry can be a sense of tapping into a collective regret for the way things are, even if you are not directly responsible.
The real opportunity here was to take on responsibility for healing any hurt, and to speed it up. If I’d listed out and justified why this person was mistaken (wrong) in feeling as she did, I’d have also missed an opportunity to be raw and open to the broader pain of the human condition.
Doing good apology is essentially an act in correctly apportioning the tasks required to get the outcome that we are all after, which, for most adults, is growth, intimacy and expansion. Ruttenberg makes the point that some indigenous cultures work to this (more mature) style of repentance (as opposed to cheap grace), as well as various radical restorative justice movements. I note that the authors and elders who contributed to the Uluru Statement from the Heart often remind us that the document is an invitation to all Australians to grow into our next era.
and to help us all do it better – the full post from The Ethics Centre