I’m Sorry — The Value Of An Apology
Our whole lives, we are taught that saying ‘sorry’ to apologise for our wrongs is common courtesy. It is etched into our innocent little minds from such a young age that it becomes a lifelong habit; we apologise for messing up, doing wrong by others and for hurting, inconveniencing or misinforming people.
Initially, sorry meant we had done the wrong thing and were apologetic for our actions. A simple sorry meant we had consciously recognised we had done the wrong thing, understood the impact our actions had on others, could empathise from their perspective and could see how our actions had caused hurt, disappointment or distress and were sincerely sorry, thus, would not do it again. Sorry used to represent a lesson learnt; personal development as well as a step forward in the relationship between two (or more) individuals. We apologise for bumping into people, regardless of who bumped into who.
Sometimes, ‘sorry’ simply means you value a friendship more than you value your own pride and ego. Saying sorry insinuates you are capable of swallowing your own egotistical nature in order to save a friendship.
Sacrifice; the true price of a solid relationship.
However, I’ve noticed lately that ‘sorry’ isn’t just a term tossed around when we have done wrong by others. It is used more and more at unnecessary times. Of course, we SHOULD apologise for the mistakes we make. It is essential we learn how to make our wrongs right and sincerely apologise for the way we treat (and mistreat) others. Even if it wasn’t our intention.
But we are beginning to apologise for irrelevant things, things that are sometimes not our own, or anyone’s fault at all. Or we apologise for simply being a certain way; apologise for someone not accepting who we are or for believing in a certain thing or for having an alternative way of accomplishing things. We apologise SO often. SO unnecessarily. Yes, it can be common courtesy, but it can also become such an overused and flippant term, that it begins to lose its sheer essence and soul. We apologise for other people; friends, family, partners etc. We apologise for the weather, or for traffic and for not having enough time or enough money. We apologise for attaining feelings for certain people and sometimes even for falling in love.
Has our constant fleeting use of the words ‘I’m sorry’ removed any significant or sincere meaning to the phrase when it actually is used appropriately?
Have you ever been apologised to and had to grit your teeth together while reluctantly accepting, simply because you don’t feel it is sincere or heartfelt? Is the person full of remorse, or are they simply spitting out a socially acceptable excuse? Blurting out those two magic words and expecting everything will go back to normal; no lesson learnt or empathy felt?
I think we all need to think about that one, I know I do.
And we need to keep in mind the wise words of Benjamin Franklin: “Never ruin an apology with an excuse.”
Really, if we are going to put ourselves out there, swallow our pride, and show our vulnerabilities and imperfections, let’s not spoil it or minimise the chance of making something bad, better.
Love and light,
* Results from BAM may vary. Strict adherence to the program is required for best results.