...for I have sinned. It has been ______ (fill in the blank) since my last confession; these are my sins.
So begins the Catholic sacrament of "Confession." (I have heard, though not confirmed, they now call it Reconciliation) Having attended Catholic school for the first 8 years of my education, I learned of this sacrament in the second grade. It was necessary to prepare you for your "first Holy Communion" by way of confessing all the sins you had committed at the ripe old age of 7.
Regardless, the cliche confession is good for the soul is true, and here's why: accountability. Unless a person becomes accountable for his actions, he denies genuine responsibility. Denying responsibility allows room for the lie, the inappropriate behavior, or the words used to hurt, damage, and condemn. Often, owning up to the behavior seems to invalidate the individual at such a core level, the person is unable to embrace their own actions. This predicates an alternate reality being conjured up. They were provoked. They were justified. They were fed up. They were anything and everything other than responsible.
The problem with this is, you can't be forgiven for a sin you haven't acknowledged. There can't be a reconciliation. There will only be more of the same--more lies, more questionable behavior, more reality skewered to prop up a failing proposition. And that, ultimately, is the tragedy. A person separated from themself. A mind at odds with a heart, a soul silenced.
As you go about your business today, wondering why people act as they do, remember that most everyone you meet has this dichotomy at work in their subconscious. It might enable you to see beyond the pretense. It might empower you to forgive that which they themselves are unable to.