Weakness my arse! I’ve met far too many people terrified to give an apology. “I’m sorry” are two of the hardest – and most powerful – words we can ever say.
Mark Harmon – a.k.a. Leroy Jethro Gibbs on NCIS – has a lot of rules to live by. One of them is this idea that you should never apologise because it’s a sign of weakness. That’s annoying.
Anyone who believes an apology is a sign of weakness is only trying to hide their own insecurity. They’re unable to take responsibility for themselves and own up to the wrong things they’ve done. They’re unwillingness to apologise shows them to be weak and cowardly.
By the way, NCIS has been on the air for 10 years. It’s popular, and yes, I like the show. But this came up in a recent episode and it really cheesed me off.
Okay. Here are the four most powerful phrases in the English language:
- I’m sorry
- I was wrong
- Please forgive me
- I love you
Notice that half of them relate to directly admitting you screwed up. Even the “forgive me” phrase relates – just not directly. So I think that says something about anyone genuinely willing to face a mistake and apologise for it.
Mark Harmon, I think you’re a fine actor. I admire your career. But sometimes (don’t we all?) you make some really bonehead choices. This rule might fit your character’s background as a die-hard marine. Maybe marine’s really believe this crap. But the impact it’s having on viewers is bad.
And don’t believe for a second that there aren’t thousands of people out there modelling their lives based on what they see on TV.
And by the way, as a veteran, I know people in all branches of the service know how to make an apology. They take responsibility for themselves and their actions every day.