I heard someone say today that apologising is an admission of guilt. I disagree 100% with that statement.
Some people find it almost impossible to apologise. Why is it so hard for some people to apologise? It’s not that hard. If something has gone wrong, saying sorry is an acknowledgement. It lets people know you have heard and understood them. If you have done something wrong – then admit it and apologise. Admitting you’re wrong is hard, and a challenge for many.
What then, is an apology? In its simplest form, an apology a deliberate effort to solve a problem that you have contributed to. It implies nothing about your attitude towards the incident you are taking responsibility for but acknowledges that you regret your part in what has happened or what the other person perceived has happened. It seems a lot of people never seem to see or understand their part
When should you apologise? Whenever there is a break in a relationship. No matter what the issue, there will usually be a part – even a small part – that was your responsibility. For this you should apologise. Realising that a disturbance is your responsibility is a giant step towards emotional maturity.
Apologise as soon as possible because as time goes on it gets harder and harder. It is our responsibility to take the initiative to apologise. If you wait for the other person to come to you, you may be waiting forever. It takes boldness and integrity to make the first step.
At what point you should take responsibility? What if you are not the cause of the issue? Is it more mature to stand up for what you believe in or to apologise? Although it might hurt one’s pride to apologise when someone else is in the wrong as well, it will still help resolve the dispute more quickly.
Some people refuse to apologise because they are afraid of the backlash, fearing an apology would mean admitting guilt and that this would fuel the disturbance rather than remedy it.
This sort of attitude is all too prevalent in our society. We no longer trust each other. We think that if we apologise, we’re admitting guilt. If we admit guilt it can be used against us. This may be true in a legal sense — car insurance policies that are void if I admit guilt or apologise at the scene of an accident — but it is totally wrong in a relational sense.
We have to get past the paranoia that makes us believe that everyone will try to use an apology against us. There will be times when an apology is abused, but more often than not, a genuine apology will be well received and will go a long way towards solving a conflict between two people.
There are ways of saying sorry to make the situation better without admitting accountability. Try this: “I’m sorry this happened” or “I’m sorry you are feeling so upset about it”.
If you don’t forgive you’re holding on to a lot of anger and resentment. Try and take the grievance less personally, or look at the offender in a more positive light. Failing to forgive can be very damaging to you both physically and mentally.
Thought for the Day:
Who the apology for? Is it to make yourself feel better or the other person?