Most of us, adults, feel guilty and ashamed when we have done wrong to the person we care about. And this sense of guilt or shame can eat us away: the longer we carry this guilt the worse it gets at us. We can only be relieved of this burden when we admit our wrongdoing and ask for forgiveness from the person to whom we have done wrong.
Not only do we feel relieved, but we also feel better ourselves for having had the courage to say sorry.
Sadly, though, the word “sorry” is the most difficult to utter, especially among many adults. While we would readily teach our children to apologize, we find it difficult to apply the same teaching to ourselves.
Why is it so?
I believe pride has so much to do with it. Look closely at the word PRIDE. Isn’t ‘I’ at the center of it?
Yes, as we grow older, we tend to develop that sense of self-centeredness for some reasons or another.
For some, apologizing is equivalent to admitting their wrongdoing, which they translate into giving up their power. Studies show that by refusing to apologize, non-apologists maintain a greater sense of power and greater level of self-esteem over those who had made an apology. For them, to apologize means to set aside pride.
It’s not easy to tell anyone, be it your best friend, family member, or spouse, to set aside his or her pride and apologize. Change has to come from the individual person.
At some points in our lives, we find it inevitable to commit mistakes and create misunderstandings with others, including those we care about the most. But, even as we acknowledge that there are issues that cannot be repaired by just saying you are sorry, we should also admit that many injuries can be healed by sincere apology.
In marriage, it is important for husband and wife to keep their communication line open to keep their relationship work and so that repair can immediately be done should injuries occur. Because of this, co-authors Andrew Rusbatch and Amy Waterman, recommend some tips from which spouses may learn how to say ‘sorry’ and really mean it.