The art of Forgiveness and apologies…It’s not just saying “Sorry”
Who would have thought that saying I am sorry and truly coming across as you mean it would be so difficult? Let’s change that up and find out what to do to make it really mean something. I am Leigh Wilson, and this is Focus Forward Business Design.
I wonder how many times a week the average person says I am sorry. Think about it…something that is emotional and should come from our hearts, spits out of our mouth with no thought. In fact, much of the time we have taken all the personalization out of it and shortened it to “sorry”, which sounds so disconnected that it makes it seem even less genuine. In this way I am going to go out on a limb and say that the phrase “I’m Sorry” is being used incorrectly much of the time. This is not to say that every time you feel the need to apologize it should have to produce tears and a heart-to-heart talk. After all, if you accidentally cut someone off in line, it is probably ok to give the cursory "I’m sorry". But can we at least look them in the eye and add the word "I’m" instead of sorry as you walk on, never looking at them? These are just observations that I have noticed as I go through my days and weeks.
Maybe it is because I remember not just myself growing up, but raising my son as well, that whenever he got called out on something I would get the “sorry” that was not attached to one neuron in his brain that emitted emotion. It was so evident that he wasn’t sorry…or maybe he was but didn’t take the time to think about what he just did and whether he truly should be sorry. It usually ended up with me thinking you are not sorry for what you did…you are sorry you got caught.
So, let’s talk about making apologies really mean something. Times when without a deep engaged apology a relationship could be jeopardized or damaged for the long run.
A sincere apology can really change the outcome of a conversation that could go sideways quickly. It is about owning up to what we did whether it was intentional or not. Really meaning that you are sorry means that you are ok opening up and being vulnerable. Recognizing that you have hurt someone or caused damage, in other words validating how they are feeling, and showing a true level of regret for your actions or words.
Here are a few suggestions when apologizing to ensure that the other person knows that it is important to you that they are feeling genuinely cared for.
Finally taking it one step further and include the other person in the long-term solution, by asking them what you can do to mend the relationship. This goes a long way in showing that you truly understand the depth of the situation. For example, if you damaged something, then ask how you can replace it or fix it. If the matter that you are apologizing for involved a betrayal of trust, then asking what you can do to rebuild that trust is paramount. These show that you are willing to go the path and make the effort to right the wrong. It is critical that an apology is well thought out and not an afterthought. Something done with intention and not out of habit.
I wanted to take this to another level and try to raise our behavior level so that not only are we truly connecting with people when apologizing and in turn deepening the relationship, but also learning the other side which is forgiveness. Forgiveness is so much more than giving the other person permission to move on…it is truly about self-care. We know that hanging on to anger, hurt and resentment cause stress, mental anguish and at the end of the day can result in true physical health problems.
Here are some key things to pay attention to that are your mind and bodies way of telling you that you must resolve and forgive.
When we get hurt on a really deep level, forgiveness is one of the hardest things to truly do and letting go of that hurt can be so difficult, especially when there is trust that has been fractured. Here is part of it though. It so often goes back to what we just discussed, in that people tend to say I’m sorry with so little meaning that it makes forgiveness that much harder.
I challenge you to really listen to yourself in the next few days, as well as listening to those around you. How often does "I’m sorry” get thrown out there with no slowing down or thought? What are you going to do differently the next time you want to express regret and show the other person that you understand that you messed up and truly want to make it right?
Relationships of all kinds are a valuable asset that are irreplaceable. We need to treat each and everyone like a precious jewel that we take great care of.
I hope this has given you some things to think about and share with those that are important to you. If you would do us a favor and click that like and share button, we can continue to help others live a full and vibrant life.
As you go through your day and your week…. remember, it is always your choice to Focus Forward.
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