Learning to say ‘sorry’ genuinely takes courage, guts, ounces of humility, and also a high degree of morality and ethics. It’s one of the Soul Lessons that each Soul will learn at different levels during each incarnation, and one that is responsible for lingering inflated egos. We often see people make public apologies to save face or a reputation, but how genuine are they? Are they forced, or made because it confers advantages (for example to have a lawsuit dropped)? Spiritually, it tows a fine line between what is legal and what is moral. What is legal isn’t always moral, and what is moral isn’t necessarily enforced legally.
Recently a couple of issues have been in the headlines that reminded of how conflicted humanity is in regards to morality. Sean Spicer (the current spokesman for the White House) made an error of judgment in comparing Assad to Hitler, claiming Hitler did not murder innocents using chemical weapons that insulted a whole sector of society, implying Hitler wasn’t evil. Within 24 hours, Spice made a public apology, while the Jewish community called for his resignation. He said sorry, but in his position as the official spokesperson for POTUS he should not have said what he did—it wasn’t illegal, but was incorrect and morally offensive. While he did apologize, one must question the inappropriate use of the language, and consider that the apology was enforced to prevent further embarrassment to the administration, which seems to apologize to the world on a weekly basis at present.
The issue with United Airlines is a little more complex and is a prime example of what is considered legal, isn’t always morally acceptable. The issue revolves around flight UA3411 from Chicago to Louisville on 9 April 2017, which had allegedly been oversold, whereupon four crew members appeared at the gate after all passengers had boarded, and requested seats. The poor management decision was made to remove four passengers who had already boarded the plane in order for the staff to fly for work the next day. No volunteers came forward and four passengers were selected randomly (according to reports). However, one refused and ended up being pulled out of his seat and then dragged with blood on his face off the plane.
The small print on an airline ticket doesn’t automatically guarantee you a seat on a plane, and some may say that the company had a right to remove the passenger, but not by physical force which caused an injury. The problems escalated as video clips were posted online, so people could see the actual incident and exchange, which was exaggerated by airline staff, yet the CEO of United Airlines made a thinly disguised apology, placing the blame on the actions of the passenger. This coupled with the internal letter to all staff saying he stood behind the actions of the staff, and felt that procedures had been followed, led to people cutting up their frequent flyer and credit cards.
What the company failed to do is to genuinely apologize to the passenger and admit their wrong doings, the public could see that. While one can argue whether the airline had a right to refuse the passenger the flight, no one can dispute it is illegal and morally wrong to use excessive force that causes actual bodily harm to someone who is not a threat (a 69 year old senior versus three airport security guards). Police are generally careful with protestors who take part in sit ins, and can remove them as long as they do not physically harm them in the process. In this case, the passenger aboard UA3411 ended up with a broken nose, a cut lip, and the loss of two teeth. An apology was necessary, and came only after the company shares fell, and the public declared they would not use the airline again, three days later.
If the CEO (and his team) had made a genuine apology immediately, the damage limitation would have less severe, because when you acknowledge a mistake, you either apologize, or you don’t accept blame. This is an important Soul Lesson for all—that you must be humble and make an apology when you have made a mistake. Too many try to blame others or make excuses, so why is making an apology so hard? First, you need to learn humility and it’s a challenge with the ego to be able to hold your hand up, or come forward and say that you were wrong or made a mistake. When people ask who is responsible for something, very few come forward unprompted to take responsibility. Usually there is some threat, or an investigation to persuade those responsible to come forward. Humans in general don’t like to accept blame or admit to a mistake, because that is associated with failure, and no one wishes to look like a loser. Yet, failure is how one learns and grows. It’s realizing that you have made a mistake that is the lesson, rather than covering it up, or finding some loophole to apportion blame elsewhere.
I find Older and Ancient Souls are more likely to readily admit to errors than Young Souls, who struggle to accept that they could have been wrong. No one likes to admit to mistakes as that makes them look weak and as a failure, but that is a physical realm concept. Those who are able to apologize and recognize errors without resentment or grudges are those who have learned their Soul Lesson, and thus evolve. Of course there maybe times where there is someone else to blame, which is why parents apologize on behalf of their child if they misbehave, as it is their role to guide. Bosses apologize on behalf of their company, therefore, those in positions of responsibility must learn to apologize for others, not to let them off the hook, but to then guide them and teach them the errors they made if they don’t understand why.
The crux is as your Soul becomes older, it tends to say less, therefore fewer apologies need to be made. An Old Soul can appear boring as they opt not to share an opinion or without realizing, they choose to remain silent, but this is because they know it’s not their place to comment or think very carefully before they speak. It is the Young Soul or Mature Soul in the early stages that struggle with swallowing their pride to apologize, because they can’t differentiate between the societal physical laws and the moral laws that are universal in time and place. A wise Soul will know when man-made laws (that can adapt and change over time) are not applicable, and when an eternal moral law supersedes that.
In the case of United Airlines it was apparent to the majority that you cannot injure and force a passenger off the plane and say it was within the guidelines. As such those guidelines have been altered, and it’s been an expensive lesson. I believe that the company felt obliged to make an actual apology (after several days, and the second public statement) due to pressure from the media and public, and is a prime example of how not to apologize. If one has to think about it, then it isn’t a genuine apology, and that will still generate adverse karma. Perhaps they did see the error of their ways, but as a large company with plenty of experience and access to high level legal advice, they acted poorly and have looked like amateurs.
Naturally, at times it can take time to realize one has made an error, as stubbornness and arrogance are traits many struggle with. What a Soul will learn is that owning up to a mistake and apologizing is not a sign of weakness, but is one of maturity and integrity. To be able to say that you have learned from something negative means your Soul has evolved, but those who refuse to apologize or accept moral wrongdoing will be stuck on their path until they do. It’s not just pride, but learning the ability to know right from wrong, despite the possible negative outcome. Saying sorry is hard, but to do it with genuine intent and to understand why is part of the Soul Growth. Learn from the errors of others, and don’t wait until you have to say sorry; make the conscious choice to do so as soon as you realize the mistake, for that is when the Soul acknowledges a lesson learnt, and is part of the evolving Soul Expedition.