I am taking Spanish classes and realizing how little I remember from the three years of Spanish from many years ago in high school. I still recognize some words and a few phrases when I see them written of if they are spoken slowly. I have a pretty good grasp of the alphabet and numbers and I recall a little about the conjugation of verbs.
After ten lessons last spring and three during this session I am embarrassed that I do not know more. Of course, studying and practicing between classes would probably make a big difference.
In spite of my limited understanding of the language, I am sure that I have learned two expressions that will stay with me. I suspect that I will remember them for a long time because I will have the opportunity to use them frequently.
I am certain that these two expressions will not be forgotten because they are words that I have had many, many occasions to utter in English. Now that I know them in Spanish it will give me an opportunity to practice at least a little bit of this second language.
The two phrases are “mi culpa” which means “my fault” and “lo siento” which means “I am sorry.” Two good expressions to remember in any language.
Many conflicts could be resolved if someone would just say, “My fault.” It is alright to accept responsibility for mistakes when we make them. There is no disgrace in doing so. As a matter of a fact, there is dignity and integrity in acknowledging your errors of speech, action, or inaction.
An honest “Lo siento” can smooth ruffled feathers when someone is upset or offended.
“I’m sorry” not only can defuse a tense situation but it also makes the confessor feel better.
Everyone makes mistakes. Acknowledging them is healthy and helpful. And necessary in healthy human relationships.
Some of our mistakes don’t really amount to very much. But some have serious implications either for ourselves or for others. Regardless of who is impacted negatively by our errors of judgment, admitting that it is mi culpa enables us to move on. More than likely we will also be more aware of that negative behavior and less likely to repeat it- if we admit “it is my fault.”
I don’t always think before I speak and I say something that offends or injures another. I engage my mouth before my mind is in gear. And the damage is done. But there is a better chance that the damage can be repaired if I quickly recognize my mistake and express my regret. “Lo siento” can at least start the healing.
The phrase, “To err is human, to forgive is divine” is credited to the English poet Alexander Pope. That expression is in his poem An Essay on Criticism, Part II, written in 1711. Pope explains that, while anyone can make a mistake, we should aspire to do as God does, that is, show mercy and forgive the person.
Because we are human we can expect to err but we can minimize the damage by acknowledging our mistake and expressing regret. And we are never more like God than when we forgive.