Monday, May 05, 2008

Giraffe Mourning

Making an apology is never easy. It means we accept responsibility for having done something that was unhealthy. We all have done it at some time in our lives. Many times we dreaded doing it and quickly wanted to get it over with. We recognized that we did something to stimulate pain in another and we had a desire to apologize. But what happened next was probably very superficial. We said those two famous words people usually say when they make a mistake, "I'm sorry."

Many times that is not enough. People may respond, "that doesn't do me any good" or "it's too late for that now." That is probably because they want more. They want what all of us want when somebody does something that stirs up pain in us. They want understanding, empathy and sincerity.

Marshall Rosenberg, the founder of nonviolent communication (sometimes referred to as giraffe language), coined the term giraffe mourning for what he recommends we do when we do something that doesn't serve life. It is called giraffe mourning because the giraffe has the biggest heart of all the land mammals. The idea is that we allow ourselves to feel at the heart level and not brush aside our feelings. He says that instead of judging ourselves and getting stuck on guilt we are better served if we allow ourselves to mourn what we did that stirred up pain in others. He calls this a sweet pain that leads to change. Then we can ask ourselves what we can do next time and make a commitment to do this and/or offer a giraffe apology (giraffe mourning) to the person.
To read the entire article click here.

1 comment:

Oldbuddy said...

I finally learned the power of saying, "I'm sorry, what can I do to help make up for it"?