“If sorry needs to be said, say it now. Tomorrow is not guaranteed to any of us.” – Toni Sorenson
Why is saying “I’m sorry” such a difficult thing to do? Rather than apologising, many of us blame the one we have hurt, present half-hearted apologies, or expect something in return. We fail to realise that a sincere apology has the potential to heal, and that is powerful. Instead of complicating the issue try the following:
• If you have caused someone pain by your actions or words, admit it. By being honest with yourself you become accountable for your actions, and here lies the foundations of an honest apology (the only kind incidentally).
• Do you respond defensively? Saying sorry is about treating yourself to a good dose of humility. You are acknowledging your mistake and correcting it. If, however, you become defensive when making an apology, such as, “Well you always speak to me like that”, this is not an apology, but an excuse. The chance to make things right with the other person will have passed and you may regret the loss forever.
• Do not expect anything in return. Saying sorry must be a selfless act, where you accept your role in the hurt you have caused, and not make it about you. Try to walk in the other person’s shoes, tune in to how you think they are feeling and simply say “I am truly sorry”.
• If you are harbouring hostility towards the person, these thoughts and feelings will make it impossible to be sincere in your apology. Firstly you must deal with your feelings, and a really good way of doing this is to firstly write down your apology. Gauge your feelings when reading it over and be honest with how you feel. This means your apology is coming from your heart and is in tune with your head which makes it sincere and meaningful.
• Learn from your apology, and try not to make the same mistake again. Life is one long lesson and sometimes it is not always what we say that causes the damage but how we say it. Being aware of our tone of voice or our body language and the body language of others is a valuable tool which will serve you well.
• Accept and acknowledge that you have contributed to sadness, anger or hurt in another and you need to make it right. Even though those uncomfortable feelings of backing down may come to the surface, try to remember your mind has a way of convincing your ego that you are right even when you know deep down you are in the wrong. You have a choice, do the right thing and make the right connection.
All of us at various times in our daily lives will have to apologise for something, regardless of how trivial it might seem at the time. It is, however, so important to address those apologies sooner rather than later. By so doing we are releasing our hearts from guilt and soothing another’s pain. You cannot build happiness on the sorrow you have created, so when you say “I am truly sorry” and mean it, you are unlocking the key to inner happiness and ultimate peace.