Is Apology Important in a Relationship?
For a lot of people, sorry is the hardest word. By saying we’re sorry, we put ourselves in a very vulnerable position open to the whims of those who receive them. But instead of concentrating on what we give up when we apologize for our actions, we should instead focus on the healing powers that apologies have in store for those who willingly give and receive them.
Why it is difficult to say sorry
Sorry is a big word loaded with a lot of meanings. Because asking for an apology means recognizing a mistake made, saying we’re sorry places us in a humiliating position. People nurture a feeling of self-worth as they grow up thanks to personal accomplishments made in life. However, this self-worth also teaches us to avoid being humiliated at all costs because it threatens our sense of self. This is what makes it difficult to ask for apologies.
When people make mistakes
Often, our self-worth harbors a misplaced pride that prevents us from recognizing the errors in our ways. Apologies are not an option for people who have a strong sense of pride, making them blind to their mistakes. But hurting people because of careless mistakes destroys relationships, jeopardizing a person’s chance at true happiness in the loving presence of friends and family.
What isn’t obvious is that when people make mistakes and defer from apologizing they also stand to lose the trust and companionship of those they have wronged. Emotional damage happens both ways, but complete healing can only be initiated by the one who made the error in the first place. Apologizing is the magical bridge that will once again reconnect torn lives. Saying sorry will not automatically erase the memory of pain, but it is the first step in reestablishing trust and forming a genuine sense of self-worth.
How to apologize
Saying sorry should not be rushed. Sincerity and clarity of intentions are more important when those words are finally said. Some people take their time before they decide to apologize not just out of preference but because recognizing personal errors is a bitter pill to swallow.
To approach someone we’ve hurt with a clear intention of apologizing to them, acceptance is important. Once acceptance is embraced, then everyone can move on with the hope of communicating better in the future. Apologizing creates sudden avenues that can be used to improve relationships. For a lot of people, saying they were sorry enabled them to better understand their loved ones, and made it easier for them to talk about things that truly matter, like apprehensions, regrets, and even love.
It should be emphasized that apologies are not mere words but actions that promise new beginnings. A pat on the shoulder and a hug can momentarily console those who are involved, but a sorry should go beyond that. An apology should be used as a way to guide our future actions and prevent repeating past mistakes.
Granted, the experience of being hurt by loved ones may never be extinguished from memory. But once a rift has been repaired with an apology, lovers, friends and family members can once again form new experiences that will hopefully conquer old, painful ones.