Never Apologize (in this context)…

I’m reading Julia Child’s “My Life in France” with Alex Prud’homme.

At a recent business event, I got up to make a comment. With my sore throat, I first apologized because my voice was hoarse. On getting back to my table, this woman who I had only met that morning said to me – “What you apologized for? You made a great point. You should have just got right into it.”

Julia child said this about the meal of eggs Florentine that she made for a friend Winnie …”We ate the lunch with painful politeness and avoided discussing its taste. I made sure not to apologize for it. This was a rule of mine.”

She went on to explain why…

“I don’t believe in twisting yourself into knots of excuses and explanations over the food you make. When one’s hostess starts in with self deprecations such as “Oh, I don’t know how to cook…,” or “Poor little me…,” or “This may taste awful…,” it is so dreadful to have to reassure her that everything is delicious and fine, whether it is nor not. Besides such admissions only draw attention to one’s shortcomings (or self perceived shortcomings), and make the other person think, “Yes, you’re right, this really IS an awful meal!”

I can certainly think of many more instances in my life when I apologized – part wanting to have the approval of the person I was apologizing to or to get my ego stroked and hear them tell me – “No you were really good.”

I have to agree with Julia – no apology required.

You need to be confident in your own abilities. Do your own assessment. Know whether something you’re doing could have been done better, different, etc.

In preparation for a recent public speaking event, I practiced several hours a day. Poor Anastasia, who heard my presentation no less than ten times and Roxanne who had to sit through it just the day before the actual delivery. And poor me because I was reciting it over and over going to sleep, and while driving (making sure I had headphones on so folks wouldn’t think I was mad – talking to myself [as if they cared] 🙂 )

On the actual day, following my presentation I was happy with myself. I had delivered as I had rehearsed and was exceedingly pleased with my performance. Because of the hours that went into preparation, I didn’t find myself this time asking opinions of others as to what they thought, or how did it go. People did come up and compliment me but it really didn’t matter.

For the first time I understood Don Miguel Ruiz’s agreement: Don’t take ANYTHING personally – including compliments.

You should never allow someones opinion to affect you as if EVERYTHING depended on that opinion. Don’t put people in positions where they feel they have to lie to make you feel better.

Julia says “Usually one’s cooking is better than one thinks it is”…and I say, usually you’re much better at ‘whatever it is’ than you think you are.

“And if the food is truly vile,” she continues “as my ersatz eggs Florentine surely were, then the cook must simply grit her teeth and bear it with a smile – and learn from her mistakes.”

And I agree with you wholeheartedly here as well Julia – All we can do is to learn, should we fail or falter.

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