The Power of an Apology

The power of an apology is something that I was contemplating about after something happened to me last week. I have someone that I report to that cussed me down out of a fit of anger over something else that they were dealing with. Even though I knew that they really weren’t angry at me per say, it didn’t mean that their behaviour was excusable; it just meant that it was understandable. Their actions didn’t minimize the hurt I felt and yes, I admit that I was incredibly offended over the incident because even though they are my superior, they have absolutely NO right to speak to me or anyone in that way. It was a very trying week for me as well so that wasn’t helping me at all.

I noticed later on that he did not apologize to me for what he did but even though he didn’t, I had already resolved it within myself to choose to forgive him because I had knowledge that as of late he’s been experiencing strife at home and the way he deals with his problems is taking it out on somebody else that has nothing to do with his problems. He vents out his anger on any unsuspecting victim without recourse which I find to be a serious escalating issue that he has not dealt with.

After this incident which I will state for the record has not been the first time he has done this, I find that he has a tendency to speak nicely to me after the fact in an attempt to be back in my good graces but he still has not learned that it’s all well and good that you are now behaving but you still have not apologized. He did not take ownership for his bad behaviour and apologize.

Please understand that I’m not sitting here expecting an apology because I already know he is stubborn; however, when I watch him, I notice that when he refuses to say those words he gets easily wracked up with guilt and hangs his head low even though he is screaming “I’M SORRY!!!!!” inside his head from what I observe from his body language . I sat there thinking to myself that he is the type of person that finds it hard to utter those two important and yet simple words that can release him from feeling guilt-ridden so I question, why does he struggle with that?

In fact, why do we all at some point struggle to say “I’m Sorry”?

You know, just to be fair, when I think about it, there were times I too found it difficult to admit that I was at fault for some of the things I did to others and was sorry for. Why is saying sorry a majorly hard thing to do at times? I know that it shouldn’t be but what I think makes it difficult to admit fault is that we are often too proud to admit to our failures that we find the idea of apologizing as something that points out our weaknesses and we don’t want to be perceived as weak nor do we wish to be perceived as wrong in the eyes of others. 

I am reminded of this quote that is very humbling and encouraging because it points out that “To Err is human; to forgive, divine” – Alexander Pope

We all make mistakes but do we learn from them? We have to learn to let go of our PRIDE when we apologize for our actions. Sometimes, we apologize for the actions of others even if we are not at fault because it allows others to treat the offender with grace even when it’s undeserving. This goes back to the fact that saying “sorry” is a characteristic of humility. I know I keep talking about humility all the time but I find that it is so important to cultivate this character as a person.  We learn to not repeat our mistakes if we remain humble and it’s also a form of wisdom too.

We have many excuses as to why we shouldn’t apologize for something that we did because we refuse to take responsibility for our actions and pass the buck onto someone else who is innocent because we hate looking bad. I think that we look worse when we don’t fess up to our mess and admit that we did wrong someone.  I think that men struggle a little more than women in this area of apologizing because they are socialized to be strong. It is that ego and philosophy that makes them have a difficult time admitting that they can be wrong at times and sometimes their actions hurt others. I’m not trying to be sexist here because women equally have a problem with admitting that they do wrong as well. All I’m saying is that men are socialized to be strong in the world and apologizing for their actions is a sign of weakness in their perspective. So like my superior did to me, he evaded the issue and attempted to stuff his wrong doings under the carpet and spoke gently to me after all the cussing he had done earlier. He refused to confront the issues he has by deciding not to apologize.  He should not take my grace to forgive him for granted and neither should we take it for granted in our own lives either.

Grace is given when we do things that are undeserving of it but we should not take it for granted. If we learn nothing from the grace that is given to us, we allow ourselves to be judged for our actions and place ourselves in a deeper pit that could have been easily avoided had we chosen to say “I’m Sorry, I did you wrong”. Grace is a chance to change; use every opportunity that is given to do so. 

There is a heavy price to pay if we refuse to confront our issues and continue to take advantage of the grace others have in our lives when we wrong them.

I think that if my superior apologized to me, it would help him to be released from feeling guilt. However, I have noticed a pattern in his behaviour in that he repeats the same mistake over and over because he has not learned the lesson.  He fails to see that by apologizing for his actions he can release himself from feeling guilt-ridden about his actions. I keep thinking that I feel sorry for him because he should be happy that I am able to forgive his bad behaviour but what happens if he comes across someone else that isn’t as forgiving? His mouth can land him in a heap of trouble but that is because he hasn’t practiced saying “I’m sorry for my behaviour”.

We should not make justifications for not apologizing because you will trap yourself in an ongoing cycle of guilt.

The power of apologizing isn’t intended to weaken you but strengthen you in that you release yourself from the guilt of your bad actions. Also, it gives you inner peace that you can now proceed to move on from your mistake and learn from it.

If you hold onto your pride and choose not to do the right thing by apologizing, you set yourself up to appear arrogant and haughty which is characteristic of PRIDE. 

If you find it difficult to say your sorry, then try writing out an apology as a starting point. You’ve got to start somewhere right? I must also point out that apologizing makes one feel vulnerable before another which can also be a reason as to why one would choose not to pursue this course of action because you have no idea if the other party will forgive you of your actions or has that level of grace to overlook your actions. That is something that I struggled with when I was in my teenage years because I was sometimes obstinate and rude and felt that these two words would make me look like a fool, but now I know that the bigger fool is one who remains arrogant and sees no reason to admit their faults before others including themselves. Do not be deceived! Do not allow yourself to be in denial.

Don’t land into an area where you become in denial about your actions, you will experience unnecessary pain in doing so. Then again…it’s your choice.

 Also take note that you should never start an apology with an excuse. Be sincere and acknowledge that when you say sorry you should be reasonable in that depending on the level of harm or hurt you caused another, the other party may not want to forgive you. Your apology is about YOU making right what you did wrong. It is still necessary to apologize because as much as forgiveness is for us; apologizing is about us too. We apologize to release us from guilt and come to a place where we can repent and learn from our bad decisions, failures, mistakes, wrongdoings, and sins. The objective of Apologizing is to learn what NOT to do next time and also when we practice apologizing we escape patterns of bad behaviour as well. 

Now having that said, the Power of the Apology is best experienced when it is SINCERE. I cannot stress this enough. If you are not sincere when you are apologizing to someone or a group, you are not just fooling them, but you are fooling yourself. Don’t lie to others with a half-baked apology. It’s a dis-service to the offended and it shows that you are too proud to realize that you compromise your moral standards to satisfy your ego.  There is a heavy price to pay in practicing this way of thinking. DO NOT be fooled with this idea because let me tell you right now that you will reap what you sow so please by all means, be sincere!
I hope that we all come to a place where we set out egos aside and learn to do the right thing. This is a character building thing. Pursue to do what is right and release yourself from the wrongs you have done by admitting to yourself, to others and to God (if you are a believer) that you are human, you make mistakes and you want to have the strength to put aside your ego to release others and yourself from the harm done. Repent and apologize.
My Last Note:
Ask yourself why you find it hard to apologize ? Write your thoughts concerning this on paper so that you read your answers and consider whether or not these things hinder you from practicing saying “I’m sorry”.
Have you ever written an apology? Write it down and get into the habit.
How did you feel after apologizing? Write it down so that you remember and do not forget.
Why do we make excuses before apologizing? Don’t justify your bad behaviour, own up and take responsibility for your actions.
Are you afraid of apologizing? Why? Write these answers down.
Consider this, the price of not apologizing is living a life full or guilt and regrets. Count the cost and ask yourself is it worth it not to say “I’m sorry” from the very depths of your heart? Look deep within yourself and you will find the answers. Find the courage to say…. Registered & Protected