Why is sorry so often the hardest word?
It is funny that so many very young children seem to find it hard to say sorry and even adults can acquire a reputation for being stubborn and refusing to admit their mistakes. Of course, children often present ‘challenging behaviour’ and we need to find ways to work around this and still achieve the desired outcome. Often they will give someone a quick hug rather than a formal apology. As adults we need to learn to work with our pride. Pride can be inherited in our genes or cultivated within individual families or societies yet all too often it acts as barrier and can keep us prisoner within undesirable situations in fact, pride can exacerbate bad situations.
In order to apologise and actually mean it takes maturity and humility. Young children usually apologise as directed until they begin to learn what an apology really signifies, quite often using ‘sorry’ in a flippant manner without meaning it; to be genuinely apologetic we need to understand cause and effect. The hardest people to apologise to are usually those we are closest to and the more hurt we have caused the harder the apology becomes, especially when an array of agendas come into play.
One of the problems facing most of us is the tendency to be a little self-centred. Stopping to think of the other person’s point of view during an altercation can prevent a situation from becoming out of hand and enables agreement therefore avoiding the need for an apology. Problems often arise if we have fixed views or expectations and remain inflexible when others act in a way that we disapprove of or cause us to feel ‘let down.’ Sadly it is often simply a question of not being empathetic towards others and instead of discussion leading to compromise there is upset, hurt and discord.
People who always need to be right either have too great a sense of their own importance or a lack of self confidence that creates a bullying attitude- they may ‘walk over’ other people’s opinions. A refusal to apologise on principal can be a sign of immaturity although there are cases where a person may not need to apologise. Sometimes apology can be a good tactical move if it calms a potentially explosive situation without anyone losing face.
The hardest thing is to apologise to yourself when you let yourself down! There are many occasions when we need to forgive ourselves before we are able to forgive others. If you do not forgive yourself you will carry the weight of your wrong doings and this will hold you back. Likewise, you should stop being judgemental and hard on yourself. Weakness is a part of our human make up and we need to accept the good with the bad to keep moving forwards.
A useful guide in any situation is to consider how you feel about something. If you are feeling bad the probability is that you are in the wrong and an apology is due. Be honest and be discerning; it will help you to get along well with others and help you to progress in a positive direction.
Sorry shouldn’t be a hard word, it should be helpful word used to express true remorse and release its healing qualities.
If you have questions or comments send to: firstname.lastname@example.org