Overall, there seems to be a cultural push back against apologizing.
Although, I think that some people (women) apologize too much. In that case it feels like you’re apologizing for your existence. Please stop doing that. You do not need to apologize for your space in the world.
The type of apologizing I’m talking about is when we say or do something that hurts someone’s feelings.
If I snap at my partner or a friend and say or do something hurtful, I think it’s appropriate and necessary to say “I’m sorry” because these relationships are important to me and should be treated as such. And, the sooner I apologize the better. There is no need for ego in our relationships. We’re all muddling around doing the best we can.
Sometimes we hurt people’s feelings without realizing that we did so and when we had no intention to do so. I may make a flippant comment at a social gathering about “trailer trash” and later realize that a person I was sharing company with lives in a trailer or has a family member that lives in a trailer. I’m responsible for my ignorance (and that’s a pretty mean thing to say) and I should say, “I’m sorry.”
In that instance, I may have intended to be funny or I was just making (mean) social commentary. The point is, I never intended to hurt the person but I did and for that I am sorry and I should say so.
In our closest relationships it’s necessary to say we’re sorry on a regular basis. Maybe we forget an anniversary, maybe we forget to pick something up from the store, or maybe we’re just being grouchy. We should take responsibility for our actions. It benefits our health and the health of our relationships. It also demonstrates self-awareness.
Of course, I’m aware that people intentionally hurt each other and then it takes more than an apology to repair the relationship. Sometimes, relationships can’t be repaired.
Saying “I’m sorry” can feel vulnerable and/or bad. I know the feeling of having said or done something and seeing a look of hurt on another person’s face. That feels awful. And, I get that acknowledging that I caused that feeling can also feel horrible. But, apologizing lets the other person know that you think their feelings matter because they do.
I also think people feel prideful when it comes to apologizing. Like, “they should know I didn’t mean it that way”
Or, “I didn’t do anything wrong, I have a right to my opinion”
Yes, you have a right to your opinion but you do not have a right to hurt someone else with that opinion. As we talked about in the Valued Living post. All of us are built differently and because of this, we sometimes hurt each other.
I am certain that there will be a time (or a few times) in the next week where saying “I’m sorry” would be appropriate. Maybe, you could give it a try and see how it feels?
Unlike what certain current political figures may say, I think It takes a lot more courage to say “I’m sorry” than it does to double down on being hurtful.
Image from: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/55098795415220170/