Posted by: C J | May 17, 2013

Unless You’re SCANDAL’S Olivia Pope: the fixer don’t …

   try to put a smooth spin on your mess up!                                                                        


You messed up -admit it!


When you mess up – fess up! Judy Smith the real woman who Olivia Pope’s character is based on says, “The truth is so important.”  Ms. Smith/ Olivia Pope are all about damage control or putting a positive spin on the truth but she at least starts with the truth and an apology. She is usually trying to save a career, the face of a franchise, or public relations; that is not what I want us to talk about today. Remember damage control is not the same as an apology!

I want to talk about when you offend someone whether on purpose or not – and that person lets you know that you crossed a line and hurt them. It is our responsibility to acknowledge our accountability in the situation. Remember their perception is their reality. For example, if you perceive that I have slighted you in some way – you believe it to be a truth.

It’s usually not the mistake that you made that festers at the wounded person but the fact that you have chosen to discount, dismiss, or ignore the mistake you made – the hurt you caused – the hole you dug.

When you are driving and veer into someone else’s’ lane don’t you immediately acknowledge the mistake with an apologetic hand-wave? Especially when the other driver’s horn lets you know what’s up. The same is true for giving a sincere heart-felt apology.

“Never ruin an apology with an excuse.” Benjamin Franklin

When I screw up or mess up and please believe I do – usually in a big way. (LOL) I wonder what I can do to mend this.  Any way – it doesn’t take me long to recognize that I hurt someone – or that I messed up – because it claws at my spirit until I make amends.  For example, the time I ran into a high school classmate in a retail store – I hadn’t seen her in about 10 years. I touched her stomach and asked her when the baby is due??? She said, “Oh Carol, I’m not pregnant, it’s all just me.” If I could have turned another shade of black I would have. Anyway the best I could do for that moment was to look her in the eyes and say, “Girl, please forgive my craziness” and gave her a big hug and changed the subject. I still feel embarrassed about that and it happened some 30 years ago.

When you step on someone’s toes you immediately say, “Excuse me or I’m sorry “– well the same is required if you step on someone’s emotional toes.  We all have the right to our feelings. There is no right or wrong way to feel – they’re your feelings. What you feel is simply ‘feedback’ for what is going on in your world.

There is no right or wrong way to feel but there is a right and wrong way to apologize. For example, just a few months ago a hip hop artist inappropriately used lyrics about a slain civil rights hero in his song… his stab at an apology was, “ I’m sorry if you misunderstood my meaning… yada yada.”  And then there is that tasteless online commercial Mountain Dew™ posted – a line-up of black men, a goat,  and an abused woman, for which they gave a weak apology.

“A sincere apology does not need a response, nor wants one. It is about you apologizing for your contribution to the situation – that’s it!” Lori Taylor @

Are you making these 3 Big mistakes when you apologize?

  1. Discount – the discounted apology has the word ‘but’ in it. For example: I am sorry that happened ‘but’ if you had not argued with me – it wouldn’t happened – or I regret what I’ve done but you know I wasn’t in my right mind. The words but and regret just discounted anything you said in front of them. And the person listen does feel heard or understood.

Do this instead: I am so sorry I hurt you – I apologize that I caused…

  1. Dismiss – the dismissed apology blames someone else – it is never your fault. For example: blaming alcohol.  “ I’m sorry but girl you know I was drunk when I said that.”  Well newsflash – a drunk person’s words are a sober person’s thoughts. Or – “You know I wouldn’t have said that if he wouldn’t made me.” Those aren’t apologies – that is how you dismiss someone’s feelings.

Do this instead:  I apologize for that stupid act – I was wrong and I’m sorry about that.

  1. Ignore – the ignored apology is when you play like nothing happened or play it down making the person you offended feel like they are crazy.  For example: “You’re right I shouldn’t have said that.” Or if you say, “Okay –ok, I see what I did wrong and I regret it.” Those are not apologies – in the words of Sheldon Cooper from TV’s BIG BANG THEORY – “That’s not an apology you’re just restating the facts.”

Do this instead: My bad, I was wrong and you were right – Oops, sorry that won’t happen again.

Did you get that – when you use these 3 words (but, if, regret) it discounts – erases – and blames the injured??? In order for an apology to work it needs to be immediate and sincere. That’s it very simple; right! It takes courage and moxie to admit a mistake and own the responsibility of it.

One sincere act of courage can save a relationship – put on your big girl draws and just do it!

Come back soon for another cup of comfort!


  1. I see you finally got released to get it posted!!! Good for you.  And Very Good.

    Simply BE  and/or let it be  …. 


    • Suzzie, Yes, I was not going to give up.

      Thank you, I think it needs to be said out loud; be for real when you apologize or leave it alone.

  2. The truth period. Awesome..

    • Thank you…

  3. Very good article.

    • Thank you Harold K. I’m glad you enjoyed it. 😉

  4. Very well said! Unfortunately, some of us like hearing ourselves so much, we just don’t know when to shut up. I think that may be partly why some people explain “why” so much they lose the simple, “I am sorry I hurt you when I did … and I’ll try very hard not to be so stupid again.” I agree about the “but” word. One of my graduate school mentors said, “never ever use the word “but”, unless you intend to negate whatever you are saying!”.

    • And thank God for our mentors who helped us not make some of those mis-steps.

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