A Manly Man with a Heart: Compassion & True Meaning of an Apology:
With books like “Men are from Mars Women are from Venus” or the YouTube about men’s brains and women’s brains, over time we have beliefs and stereotypes about how men and women behave. Some of this is true. Yet, a week ago, I witnessed in one of my couple sessions, a moving moment that I want to share with all of you. In contrast to most psychologists, as a health psychologist and neuropsychologist, I see couples often related to chronic illness or dealing with some form of brain injury. The couple clearly loves one another yet, it is extremely evident, in the session, that they are dealing with a chronic illness and various common martial issues. The husband is definitely what most people would stereotype as a manly man, i.e. enjoys watching and participating in sports and outdoor activities.
In the session, I pointed out that there was something he had done that had really hurt the feelings of his wife, then without hesitation he turned to her with tears in his eyes and said the following: “I wasn’t aware that you were hurting so much. That is awful that I did anything to hurt you. I never meant to. I never realized what I did hurt you so much. I’m so sorry. I never want to hurt you again like that and I will do my best to be more aware of how you feel.”
This type of true apology was what Dr. Randy Pausch spoke about in his book and on YouTube, entitled the “Last Lecture.” He said that there are 3 criteria for a true apology, which I totally agree and is what this manly man with a heart did.
1)To acknowledged that the person is genuinely in pain and is suffering.
2)To acknowledge that the reason the person is in pain and suffering is related to something that you did do and you can clearly see the action/reaction.
3)To genuinely make a commitment to changing your behavior to avoid hurting that person again.
All 3 of these criteria were seen in this session of the manly man with a heart. It is the hope that more people learn how powerful these 3 simple steps are in having a true committed relationship with a friend, family member or someone you work with.