Monday, January 25, 2010

Saying Your Sorry is Not a Sign of Weakness

I was watching NCIS the other day, which is one of my favorite TV shows. I like it because it is humorous and entertaining. I think it is one of the top TV series on the network. In one particular show (I am not sure which) Gibbs, who is the fearless leader of the NCIS crime unit, makes the remark to his subordinate saying, “Don’t say you’re sorry, it is a sign of weakness!” I couldn’t believe it. Although I love Gibbs as a character, this statement could not be farther from the actual truth. Saying that you’re sorry, is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of strength! It takes courage to say that you are sorry to someone for something you did that was wrong. It takes strength to admit that you made a mistake and that you own up to it. It is taking responsibility for your actions. It is letting another person know that you are sorry for your mistake and will try to do better.

Now I know that NCIS is just a TV show (and I think a good one), but many younger and some older viewers look up to the character of Gibbs, and may take to heart what he is saying about being sorry as a sign of weakness. I think it is important to realize that it takes strength to say you are sorry to someone. It is a very hard thing to do! You are admitting that you made a mistake and are not perfect. And that is not a sign of weakness; it is part of being human. We are not perfect. We make mistakes and sometimes hurt other people. Then we need to say we are sorry. I think it is very important to strive to be the best we can be in this world. But we do make mistakes and we should try to learn from them, and move on. Let us practice the Lord’s Prayer, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”.


  1. I too have been troubled by the position that Gibbs takes on NCIS. I agree it is a good show and he is a good character, but for the most part I share Shanti's view that in many cases taking responsibility for one's actions is a sign of great strength. I think we must take Gibb's statement as a recognition that our professional peers use a shallow standard when judging us and that we need to be guarded about sharing anything that can be used against us. I think this makes a perverted kind of sense. So I have a compromise position that I think might reconcile us with Gibbs and yet still allow us to maintain our integrity. We may be permitted the reticence of not publicly avowing an apology if we privately vow to ourselves to:
    1) always be honest with ourselves about the consequences of our actions and more importantly,
    2) endeavour through our actions to make amends and right every wrong of which we are the author to the greatest extent possible, adopting alternate remeadies where direct restitution is not possible
    In this way, we can act with honor without losing face in a world where we are often judged abruptly and superficially. This solution has the added value of avoiding falling into the trap of tendering an apology for the purpose of asuaging our guilt rather than truly comforting the victem. Actions speak louder than words, so if Gibbs would have us be silent in our apologies then we must use great actions to convey our truthful feelings.

  2. I was watching NCIS for a long time but eventually had to stop watching. The abusive headslaps, the constant bullying that Tony was always laying on Tim, and the dont apologise creed of Gibbs all made me feel horrible. I used to be like Tim is now - he was always written to look weak, he is bullied and not allowed to do anything about it, and he has to stay back because they refuise to help him to "grow" as an agent. Season 11 so far has actually been good - fewer headslaps, a lot less of Gibbs being a prick and Tony has been a lot nicer. I wonder if the writers are finaly reading all the complaint that I have been posting about Tony. Season 11 has been one of the best seasons so far!!! Tony is not always flirting with Ellie because she wears a wedding ring. Personally I think she only wears it to keep Tony off her back. Tony also is not bullying or headslapping Tim anywhere near as much as he used to. Niether is Gibbs.