A few years ago I had an amazing opportunity to sit down and talk with Ken Cloke, one of the world's leaders in the topic of apology and forgiveness as a tool for resolving major world conflicts. Ken has been on the front lines in Africa, Eastern Europe, and elsewhere, and his organization, Mediators Beyond Borders, has done incredible things to move the needle on peace and solidarity around the world. Why does this matter to you? Because Ken said something that will always stick with me, and it's something that is directly relevant to you too....you can always apologize and forgive. That doesn't mean you have to accept blame, and it doesn't mean that you have to "give in" or otherwise cede your authority, but we all have the power to apologize for someone else's misfortune, and to therefore empathize with the situation. When sincere, apologies can go a long way in addressing even the most difficult conflicts we face, and I've certainly seen well-timed apologies completely transform relationships. Of course, our society still has a ways to go in accepting and humanizing apologies - just look at Facebook in this week's news cycle and the accusations being hurled at Mr. Zuckerburg. Many recent headlines include, "ashamed of his actions, Zuckerburg apologizes" and etc. In this context apologies are seen as weakness, and trigger perceptions of immediate blame and fault. I am not making a judgment on Facebook's culpability in this recent matter - my thought is more focused on how, why, and when we might begin to practice more apologies on things that matter.
What do you think? Do you apologize and forgive easily, or do you see this as a form of weakness?