I’ve always hated the popular phrase “Sorry, not sorry.” Admitting when you’ve done something wrong or hurt another person by your actions is difficult. While I’m sure we all secretly wish that we were perfect & never have to apologize for anything, it’s just not the reality of the world we live in. Plus, when you’re genuinely a good person, the guilt alone will wear you down until you finally decide that you have to do something about it. As I’ve grown older, apologies haven’t gotten any easier, but knowing when I need to take responsibility for my actions definitely has.
Here are the two main components of a good, heartfelt apology:
Acknowledgment of what you did
Consider all parties involved & admit fault for the role you played in hurting others. If someone is accusing you of something that you actually did not do, you can still acknowledge how they feel & apologize for making them feel that way, even if it wasn’t your intention. You can choose to agree to disagree on the situation, but know that apologizing is the first step to reconciliation. If a relationship is important to you, apologizing, forgiveness, & moving forward on a new positive path is more important than your pride, ego, & ensuring that you get your way.
Decide how you intend to fix the issue you caused & commit to it with changed behavior
Promise to make it up to the person you hurt. Buy them flowers, candy, or even a small heartfelt gift that will really mean something to them & touch their heart. Assure them that you won’t do it again, but only if you actually intend to follow through with your promises. If you’re offering empty promises without changed behavior to be forgiven, you’re just manipulating the person that you hurt & setting them up to get hurt again. There’s nothing worse than realizing that someone you care about was just telling you what you want to hear so that they can stay in your life.
A real apology involves remorse, followed by silence, space, & showing your changed behavior, whether or not the other party accepts it. Learn to forgive yourself for the hurt you caused, & forgive others even when they refuse to apologize & take personal accountability. Try to act from the greater good for everyone concerned. It’s important to apologize as well as have empathy & compassion for others because even strangers deserve to be treated with kindness & respect. Think about the last time that you were mistreated by a complete stranger. It didn’t feel great, did it?
We’re all the main character in the story of our own lives. While we don’t know everyone’s unique story, it’s still important to do your best to not be another villain in someone else’s life. There’s a reason why a complete stranger may have been mean or rude to you at an inopportune moment, but instead of sinking down to their level, take a deep breath & try to show some compassion for what may be happening beneath the surface.
Only hurt people will hurt people. No one would send hate & darkness someone else’s way, if they weren’t deeply hurting themselves. There’s most likely a story behind their behavior & actions. But like I said in a previous blog post, how someone treats you is their karma. How you choose to react to their treatment is yours. Be mindful & present in your emotions. Do your best to apologize & take responsibility for your actions as needed. Then choose to forgive & let it go for your own peace of mind.