By Akif Abdulamir
March 21, 2013
Many people love to hear the word “sorry”. It feels good when somebody apologises. I guess, it puts one in control. However, the word also stops someone from moving on and may cause resentment and pain. It may also open up old wounds that are too deep to heal. The word separates parents from their children and good friends desert each other.
The sad thing is that only when it is too late people admit they were in the wrong. We see people sitting for hours by the graveside muttering “sorry” a thousand times a week. They had a chance to heal the wound, but, perhaps, were too proud to do anything about it.
But if you look on the other side of the perspective, you would see that, most of the time, the fault is shared by both sides. When you expect every slip made by your friends to be justified by an apologetic word, then you put yourself in a constant distress.
The majority of people say sorry in a mechanical way. They don’t even realise that they said it. It is just a force of habit that has no meaning at all. So many instances you see people spat out the word to get it out of the way. They don’t really feel sorry. They do it out of social obligations. Not really meaning it.
Sometimes, people don’t know how to say “sorry”, but that does not mean they are not. They are too proud to say it, but they try to make amends in different ways. They do it with their eyes, gesturing or even helping out in a difficult situation.
Though words play a big part in our lives, we still rely on them to solve many of our emotions. When well spoken, they reach deep. A careless remark, even in a joke, destroys feelings. Another word we hear most often spoken these days, but lacking conviction is “commitment”.
We see plaques that say, “we are committed to our customers”, when they really should say “we want your money.” Many marriages still stand today because of an old commitment that had expired years ago. The word, in time, changes meaning to become “tolerant” or putting up with an inescapable situation.
Just a month ago, I heard a man saying that he promised his sister to look after her daughter after she died. I could feel the regret in his words. The two words, “promise” and “commitment” often mean the same thing. Two heavy words that carry a burden with them.
Like “sorry”, you cannot say them insincerely. You are bound to get caught somewhere down the line. But the irony is that we come across them almost every day of our lives. This, however, is life and if you want to live with other people, then you cannot escape the load that comes with the responsibility of being alive. We all love to say that life is a gift, but the gift comes at a price.
Like an apple you buy from the shop, nothing is free. If you are not “committed” by a promise or apologetic for wrongdoing, then you have no right to be part of the human race. If you observe closely, as minutes tick away to hours, you need to fulfil promises as part of the general responsibilities we are committed to.
It may all start with simple words that may be forced out by emotion. But you cannot stay tight-lipped all the time, even speaking is a commitment and sometimes, a burden, too. Words do make changes, but we may not really know where they lead to.
Akif Abdulamir is an Oman-based freelance columnist. This article has been reproduced from the Khaleej Times.