Sincere apologies are for those that make them, not for those to whom they are made. – Greg LeMond
Let’s be realistic, a lot of us would not go far in life without having to render a few apologies along the way. Though a few people would see rendering an apology as a sign of weakness, others may recognise it as an easy way to smoothen out a difficult situation.
Apologies are one of those things we’re rarely formally taught how to do well. We mostly just muddle through them, mimicking the behaviours we’ve seen in others, and feeling like we just want to get it over and done with. However, taking a few moments to really understand the value of a sincere apology can make your apology far more effective and more likely to be accepted.
An apology is the basic reaction to any mistake.
My younger self didn’t understand the complexities of human pride and self-righteousness, but my older self does. Through the years I have seen family members refusing to talk to each other for years after an argument just because neither side wants to be the first to let go of their pride and “break down and apologise.” Because they believe apologising is a sign of weakness.
But who decided rendering an apology was a sign of weakness?
Nobody is perfect, and we all will do something to hurt another person at some point in our lives. The difference, however, lies with acknowledging that we have done something wrong. This was hard for me to grasp, because I was taught that an apology should be an automatic response.
It took me a long time to realise what it meant to say “I’m sorry” from the heart. Apologising just for the sake of apologising is meaningless. We cannot genuinely apologise if we can’t admit to ourselves that we made a mistake.
This is where humility comes in. Can we look at ourselves in the mirror and say that it was at least partly our fault? Can we take that responsibility?
Placing the blame on someone else is easy. Making excuses and skirting the subject is easy. Assuming the full weight of blame on our own shoulders, however, is very hard.
Learning to apologise is the first and most important step in the healing process. Not only does it show the recipient that you acknowledge their right to feel hurt, but it opens the way to forgiveness.
It seems so silly, really. I mean, it’s only two tiny words. How can something so small be so powerful?
Well, there have been several scientific studies on the power of apologising, which have demonstrated that when the victim receives an apology from his offender, he/she develops empathy toward that person, which later develops more quickly into forgiveness.
This is due to the fact that when we receive an apology, we feel that our offender recognises our pain and is willing to help us heal.
In Addition, timing is an important aspect to keep in mind, i say this, because sometimes the other person might not be ready to accept your apology. Sometimes we need to allow time to heal the wounds a little bit before we come forward to apologise.
An apology will certainly not undo what has been done, but it can help ease the pain and tension of the aftermath. It gives hope for rebuilding, and puts value on the relationship rather than the individual’s pride.
Sometimes people don’t even realise the hurt they are creating around them by failing to take responsibility for their actions. Maybe it’s you, maybe it’s someone you know, but everyone knows someone who has suffered from this at some point.
It costs absolutely NOTHING to render a sincere Apology.
A lot of times those two simple words (Im Sorry) are worth more than a lifetime of excuses and explanations.