What's the best excuse for laziness

opinion : Can you apologize to yourself?

“One year after the Love Parade: Mayor Sauerland

apologizes “from July 12th

When will politicians and journalists finally get it? You cannot “apologize” to (yourself)! This is not provided for in the Christian tradition. Anyone guilty can only, after admitting their guilt and sincerely repenting, ask for forgiveness (apology) from the person before whom they are guilty. If he is generous and gracious, as also provided for in the Christian tradition, then this forgiveness of his guilt will be granted to him. It must therefore read: "I apologize" and not "I apologize". The latter is a presumption that the guilty party is not entitled to. The example of the Lord Mayor of Duisburg, who took a whole year to recognize his “moral” responsibility, becomes particularly clear with which politicians repeatedly bother the public in their apologies, which then sound like this or similar: “ I hereby sincerely apologize to all those who might feel hurt by my actions, my statements ”. Mind you: I haven't hurt anyone, but if someone feels that way, then “I'll apologize” to myself.

Ursula Keller, Berlin-Charlottenburg

We are always in danger of looking for someone to blame for painful events in order to create an outlet for our own emotional accumulation. In this way we reduce the analysis of a very complex event in an impermissible, even unjust way. We throw blame on a scapegoat who is about to be chased into the desert in the mistaken belief that this will clear everything up and clear it up. Above all, your own culpable shares should remain hidden. A perpetrator-victim relationship can then be judged fairly if the perpetrator can also be seen as a victim and the victim can also be understood with his share of the perpetrators. This is never easy. This view also does not exculpate criminal behavior, but it is the best way for prevention and fair understanding and the basis for real forgiveness. In doing so, we will have to differentiate between the ways in which one is guilty. There is guilty behavior towards oneself (e.g. behavior that is harmful to health), one can be guilty in interpersonal relationships (e.g. through lying, fraud, betrayal, abuse). And you can become guilty without actually wanting to, if your own behavior causes things to happen that weren't really foreseeable. Practically every politician, scientist, boss is permanently guilty of problematic developments and results with serious consequences that were not known, not considered and also not taken into account accordingly. The obligation to decide and act in good faith does not guarantee freedom from guilt. The limit to careless, habitual action is in the expectation: it will - as always - go well, fuzzy and fluid. We have to differentiate the question of “apology” according to the type of guilt: If I am guilty against myself, I can try to apologize for knowledge, understanding and behavior change and can only be: “I will end my culpable behavior for which I am responsible.” That is in the vast majority of cases only possible if one has really understood and emotionally processed the development history, the motives, the reason for the culpable behavior. Unconscious mental processes also play an important role, and help is usually required to understand them. Because unconscious is unconscious and cannot be uncovered through reasonable thought. But adults are also responsible for their subconscious, and whoever does not seek clarification in the event of a conflict or crisis is guilty - to themselves and possibly also to the consequences. In the case of relationship guilt, there is also the obligation to recognize and understand why you are guilty. Only through this insight into one's own misconduct, which must also be communicated to the injured relationship partner, can an honest apology be expressed: “I apologize to you for ... I have seen that my behavior was ... wrong. I am sorry. ”In this case, one cannot ask for an apology because it is imposing on the guilty party to make the apology or not, to forgive or not. The guilty party cannot shift this burden. The case of accidental guilt is the hardest to decide. It will have to be examined carefully whether neglect, sloppiness, recklessness, ease, laziness, lack of supervision and control or narcissistic cockiness and taking advantage did not play a role. Then it is still a question of relational guilt or guilt against oneself. Then insight, confession and consequences must also be demanded. The apology must be: I apologize because I ... (made the mistakes and those mistakes). And depending on the type and severity of the error, there must be consequences. Apologizing for the potential for harming someone is lying and embarrassing. It can only be about insight into one's own misconduct, but that is rare among politicians. And in those cases in which there are consequences for which you are responsible for your decision, but without any identifiable, recognizable misconduct, i.e. guilt due to consequences that were not to be expected and could not be foreseen - a situation that comes with power and responsibility for decisions grows - for such a guilt one needs forgiveness by a "higher power". Then it can only be: I apologize. I acted (checked) to the best of my knowledge and belief. I'm so sorry. I ask for forgiveness! Only “higher powers” ​​are entitled to forgive, e.g. B. a superior, a board of directors, a president, a court and - God, for those who understand themselves as part of a religious worldview. Dealing fairly with guilt is of course particularly difficult - this is likely to be the case in most cases - when self-guilt, relational guilt and highest guilt are complexly networked - this also seems to be the case in Duisburg, and not only with the mayor.

- Dr. Hans-Joachim Maaz, chairman

of the Choriner Institute for Depth Psychology

and psychosocial prevention

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