I’m sorry are the two most healing words one person can say to another. Harriet Lerner, PhD, psychologist and relationship expert.
A sincere, heart-felt apology is not only a gift to the person we offended, it is a gift to ourselves. I’m wondering, however, If it’s such a great thing for all concerned, why is it so difficult to convey? It’s not easy. An apology is an acknowledgement of harm and an admission of responsibility. In order to apologize, we have to come to terms with our errors and misjudgments.
“It’s challenging to see ourselves capable of hurting other people’s feelings,” says Tamar Chansky, PhD, author of Freeing Yourself From Anxiety: 4 Simple Steps to Overcome Worry and Create the Life You Want. “And yet, we all make mistakes.” Dr. Chansky goes on to explain that even when we’ve wronged a person, our stubborn refusal rewards us by boosting our sense of control and self-worth. Those feel-good benefits often prevent us from making a gesture of remorse.”
In my experience, deciding whether or not to apologize depends on how much I value the relationship. Do the benefits of an apology outweigh the humility required? My answer is usually, “Yes.”
Affirmation: I can say, “I’m sorry.”
Coaching questions: Is there anyone to whom you need to apologize? Is it worth it? If not, why not? Who needs to apologize to you? How is this lack of acknowledgement of wrong-doing making you feel?