Apologies offered and received timely and sincerely are vital ingredients in relationships. Without the process of apology, hurts and trespasses fester and can manifest as hatred, resentment, and revenge. Apologies given and received enable rapprochement.
Rapprochement is especially important in international relations because of our human tendency to fight each other on a grand scale. Whether you want to call an amicable truce rapprochement or reconciliation doesn’t matter in the long-run, because they pretty much mean the same thing. For today’s blog post, I’m focusing on rapprochement because that word has a more serious connotation.
Regardless of whether one is an ambassador or a lover, serious disagreements feel earth-shattering. There are two parties who so strongly disagree about an issue that they grow very angry and seek out ways to cause harm to one another. In extreme cases, there is international war or more personally–domestic violence.
Oftentimes the extreme verbal and physical abuse cause permanent rifts in the relationships which are necessary, especially in the case at the personal level. Without rapprochement, resentments will fester and displace the energy needed to live a productive, satisfying, happy life. So, if there is no truce between the parties, lives will be wasted literally or figuratively in drawn-out conflict.
Although rapprochement and reconciliation should be commonplace, they are often seen as revolutionary acts. This is so because rapprochement requires changes of heart and the ability to see issues through the eyes of the adversary. Here again, empathy plays an important role in living an effective, satisfying life. This change in attitude by both parties requires symbolic and practical action. The ceremonial promises must be carried out into the real world of everyday interaction.
Rapprochement and reconciliation are important and foundational. They transform nations, families, and individuals. When reconciliation is not made, serious dysfunctions develop and grow into irreconcilable grudges that can continue over the lifespans of several generations. The most infamous feud was between the Hatfields and McCoys. The often violent dispute began in the 1860s with the cause being complex and ambiguous. The feud faded after the elders of both families passed away. As far as we know, there was no rapprochement between the instigating parties before their deaths. Their dispute still looms large in discussions of interpersonal relationships.
The current large-scale ill-will between domestic factions in the U.S. and within other nations is going to take a lot of sober, sincere discussion. There is a pressing need for rapprochement so we can move on to solve the pressing problems facing humanity together. The questions are: Will we do it? Will we do it in time?