Pride can be one of the most difficult things to overcome. When we were growing up we are taught to “feel proud” about ourselves and what we do. But when does pride cross the line to stubbornness? This difference is not always easy to identify, especially when our emotions get involved. The simplest answer appears to be when we hurt ourselves or others. At that point, we are hanging onto something just to say that we are right. This impacts our relationships with our family and friends, and often in a negative way.
In the last week, we have witnessed Rush Limbaugh and Kirk Cameron both struggle with this very issue. Both of these two celebrities have made outlandish, offensive, and discriminatory comments in the past week. Both have also struggled with their pride and apologies in these situations. But are these individuals dealing with a backlash for their comments, or for their pride? People are more likely to accept a genuine apology where a person learns from his/her mistakes. People do not appreciate excuses or justifications. So if you hurt someone or have messed up, you will most benefit from saying that you are sorry. We all have done this and will do it again, so all we can do at that point is to apologize, but without excuses.
Although I do not agree with what either of these individuals were saying, I do think that everybody is entitled to their opinion. I believe this to be true for celebrities as well, but they do not live by the same rules. When you are in the public eye, the rules that you have to live by are different. If you say your opinion to someone in private, at a dinner, it is going to make much less of an impact than if you say it with the publicity of the media. Therefore, when in the public eye, your responsibilities are different because you can hurt so many more people in a single sitting. Although this is not an real relationship, people who are watching feel as though they do have a relationship with you, and can still be hurt by comments that are made.
All people are fallible. Celebrities are no exception to this. So the problem that Rush and Kirk face right now is not that they made a mistake, it is that they are not owning up to it. Rush did make an apology, but the apology that he made failed to take full responsibility for his actions. Kirk Cameron hasn’t really said that he is sorry at all, but rather has distracted from this altogether. This has forced him to deal with ongoing scrutiny since his interview with Piers Morgan.
Neither of these individuals have to be sorry for what they believe. But they would likely benefit from showing remorse for hurting others. At this point, they are paying the price for making such statements with the entire world watching. It would be much different if both of these individuals said “I made a mistake and I am sorry”. However both got distracted with the passion that they feel about a particular topic. It is fine to be passionate, but when people are hurt by comments that you make, the only thing you can do to rectify this is take full responsibility, which has yet to happen.
The lessons that we can learn from these two individuals is to be careful of the forum for which we speak openly of our opinions. When you say something hurtful, apologize, but also take full responsibility in your apology. If you do not say that you are sorry, you are leaving someone hurt and angry. On the other hand, if you apologize for what you said, people will likely forgive you, and the wounds inflicted will heal with fewer scars. People understand that you are fallible and make mistakes. Thus, rather than getting caught up in your pride, throw it out the window so that you can put the problem behind you, and help the person who was hurt by your comments let it go as well. Your relationships with your friends, partner, and family will be much stronger as a result of your ability to keep your pride in check.