Have you ever had someone treat you poorly, say something unkind, act like a jerk – or whatever – and then simply say “I’m sorry” and expect you to move on? Ugh. They act like this is a fix-all for whatever has happened. You know what I mean, right? Like it’s just the thing to say, so they say it to stop the argument. After awhile I just stop believing them. In some ways those words have lost their meaning.
I think we have all probably done this. That glib apology.
Or worse, when someone says, “I’m sorry if I upset you.” Newsflash: this is not an apology. It’s taking their responsibility for something they have done and putting it all on you. You’re just sensitive, or you can’t take a joke. Nope. Not having that. By the way, saying this is a good way to start a whole new argument.
I’m not trying to say that there is no point in apologizing. Not at all. It’s absolutely necessary. I’m just saying there is a way to do it to seem genuine. Heartfelt.
There is a great video that gives an example of a bad apology and a good one. He says to acknowledge the hurt, not just apologize. The person you have done wrong to needs to know that you understand how much you hurt them. This is freaking essential. Just giving a quick apology might make you feel better, but it probably is only going to make the other person feel even worse. This may be my highly sensitive personality peeking through, but this is how I feel when I get what seems like insincerity. If you are truly sorry, make it known. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to admit that you were wrong. Never apologizing doesn’t make you strong, it makes you weak – and a douche. Seriously. None of us are above mistakes. All of us have hurt someone. Own it.
One more thing, if someone has apologized to you STOP BRINGING IT UP! If you can’t let things go, then people are going to just stop trying. They will realize there is no point in apologizing to you because it means nothing. A real apology can go a long way to fixing a relationship, but it goes both ways. Accept the apology you have been given and let that person off the hook. If you can’t trust a person anymore even though they have apologized, then put them out of your life. But if you are going to keep them, don’t guilt trip them. Guilt is such a harmful thing to keep inside of you. If you can help someone get rid of some of their regret, you could be giving them hope for another day. That may sound dramatic, but as a person who has been bombarded by shame from all sides for most of her life, being forgiven feels like a saving grace. So be the better person. Forgive. Be thankful someone loves you enough to apologize in the first place. Not everyone does. Move on.