No matter how wonderful a person we may believe our self to be, it’s inevitable our words may cause hurt, or we may offend people by our actions or inaction.
Most of us hate to apologize because we don’t want to admit we were wrong! However, doing things that do not meet the standard happens often in all of our lives. We neglect things that should be done, we say things that should not be said, we do things that would have been better left undone, etc. And then we have to live with the consequences of those behaviours. If we don’t apologize people’s feelings will stay hurt, and it may mean a permanent loss of a valuable relationship. We need to mend those relationships if they are important to us.
When an apology is needed it is important we say we are sorry for the right reasons and in a way that communicates our genuine feelings. Saying you are sorry because you were caught doing something can really be, “I am sorry I got caught.” not “I am sorry I did the thing.” Saying you are sorry isn’t about justifying why you did or said what you did, but simply asking for forgiveness because you have hurt the relationship in some way. Many times we may feel the need for explanation but often that is so we can “look good.” In reality, we all want to look good.
Saying you are sorry isn’t about being weak – but being strong. It’s about taking responsibility in an adult way. I admit I have made an error in judgment and I recognize that error. I am sorry that I stepped out of place – but most of all I am sorry for the harm that may have been done to the other person because of my error. I am willing to make it right. So my apology comes without guilt or shame. It is simply that I made a mistake – a “miss –take”.
Situations where we have caused hurt can be excellent opportunities for us to become even better through the humbleness necessary to admit our error. Saying I am sorry can reveal me to me! It can give a new awareness of the value I put on relationships with myself and others. It allows our relationships with our spouse, family and friends to be more genuine. We are “real” people who allow others to be real as well. Because I make errors in judgment, I acknowledge others may do so as well.
It isn’t easy in the beginning to say “I am sorry,” but it is so worth it! Just as a caterpillar must break the silk threads to become a butterfly, as we break our own resistance to saying we are sorry, our friendships will deepen and our lives will transform in a positive way. People will feel safe with us because we truly are a friend who loves deeply and treasures relationships.