It is seriously close to Christmas, and it is time to get a little serious in our countdown. That famous quote in the title comes from An Essay on Criticism by my man Alexander Dope. The point he was making in his book was that bad criticism of literature was worse than bad writing. He argued that too often we put the works of ancient authors on a pedestal, believing that greatness is something people are born with. Alexander Dope said “nope” to that idea. Writing is something you practice, just like any other art form. It is a skill that can be improved. Greatness isn’t a gene, it is an achievement.
The quote in the title is about how humans tend to mess up a lot. Which means that it is inevitable that someone you know or care about will let you down at some point. We ran the algorithm here at BBYK, and trust us, there is a 100% chance you’ve been that person to someone else at some point in your life. Dope’s point is that when we forgive, we are in a sense acting god-like. It is an active participation in that which is divine. It takes humility to admit you are wrong, it takes grace to be forgiving. Observe the gentlemen below, Hall of Famers in a sport they helped elevate:
“Let me apologize to you. If I hurt you. That we haven’t been together.”#PlayersOnlyMonthly pic.twitter.com/nDpfDfZek8
— NBA TV (@NBATV) December 20, 2017
They were great friends and fierce competitors. Childish behavior and stubbornness drove them apart. In our society, men are taught to be outwardly strong. Young men grow up seeing their pride as a source of strength. Just look at how cathartic that was. That is two grown ass men hugging it out. In that moment all of the anger and resentment was let go. “I am here for you.” It probably always had been, but they just couldn’t admit it.
This holiday season, if you have a grudge or a person in your life that had “something somewhere along the way come up and now you don’t talk,” or just a friend you let slip out of communication… reach out. That feeling that comes with forgiveness (or forgiveness adjacent) is more powerful than all of the hate that lies at the heart of your biggest grudge.
…Or you read this and were like “doesn’t relate to me at all, everyone likes me and I am awesome.” To you from the entire BBYK family…
… we forgive you.