Have you ever considered the power of apology?
Up until these last few years I had never really taken the time to think about the power of apology in much depth to be honest.
I’m not saying I haven’t apologized before, I certainly have… and it ‘aint’ always easy; but I think perhaps since becoming involved in personal development, I now have a better understanding of the human condition, hence given much thought to the power of apology.
The reason I wanted to talk about this today was triggered by a very simple squabble between my kids.
I’d like to make it very clear, I have awesome kids. They are very close in both age and friendship and very, very good, but sometimes, like kids do, they argue, they might deck on and other, or just be a little … “narsty” (love that word!)
On the rare occasion that this happens, I inevitably intervene and give them a good talking to. Once I have determined who the offender is, I insist he or she apologize the other.
Its’ kind of funny really, but I have had to work at getting my kids to apologize. Even now, it often takes a cooling off period before they will actually follow fulfill my request.
Once the smoke has cleared and emotions have simmered, they will usually look one and other in the eye and say they are sorry. On a good day, they’ll even give each other a hug.
I started this apology training for a good reason:
I knew a couple once who like all couples had their differences, but in general had a very good relationship.
They were both unique in the way that they both enjoyed their own time, but on the same token they enjoyed time together too.
The thing was though that life was changing pretty darn fast. They had become parents for the first time, and shortly thereafter were expecting their second.
The wife’s life changed in the way that she not only worked outside the home but also had her hands full at home with the young children. It was quite overwhelming.
The husband worked too but chose to spend very little time at home with her and the babies. Instead his friends became more exciting, and frankly I feel he went through a midlife. Cars, Motorbikes and partying became his focus.
What I do remember is she was always exhausted, he frankly didn’t care… Spending time with friends overrode his willingness to spend time with the family and help out.
The result was that a minor spat occurred due to his insensitivity to his wife’s needs.
She was very hurt but he refused to see any wrongdoing, therefore he would never apologize … and still to this day would never consider it.
That refusal to apologize destroyed this marriage and the bright future the family could have enjoyed. They divorced.
The bottom line is pride got in the way and he couldn’t swallow it. He also told her that apologizing was a sign of weakness.
I can tell you from seeing this chain of events and other unfortunate situations that anybody who does not understand the power of apology must live a very heavy life.
Let’s face it, we as humans can be a little dysfunctional. We can snap at each other, feel niggled at silly things, and sometimes we don’t think about our actions, and sometimes we make a wrong choice.
Regardless of how we come about hurting someone, we must realize that ‘things happen’ and a ‘big’ person, if they have a decent conscience will “own” their wrong doing and make things right
I understand that sometimes two people can indeed look at the exact same thing and see things completely different. One person might see everything being ‘hunky dory’ and the other person might see ‘wrong doing’.
The thing is though, that regardless of who is right in life and who isn’t the bottom line is that when it comes down to brass tacks it doesn’t matter.
It’s all about being sensitive to the feeling of others. Sometimes a person may feel they shouldn’t have to apologize, or it’s not their responsibility. In this case, I ask what is wrong with saying then ‘if what I did hurt you, though it was not my intention to do so, I’m sorry”…
An apology can heal many wounds and make such a difference to everyone involved. I’m not saying it is easy…and sometimes it may be refused, or you may get a tongue lashing before the other person accepts it… but the act itself is so worth it.
Not only can it clear the conscience, it can reduce a variety of stresses and burdens. It can go a long way in developing respect for the person who was ‘big enough’ to express themselves too.
The bottom line is, regardless of how severe or petty issues are; whether it’s something intentional or an honest mistake, whatever we did to affect the feelings of others should be addressed.
It sure lightens the load we often carry (even if we don’t like to admit it). It shows humility by validating the other person’s feelings and shows your willingness to take responsibility.
As I said, it’s not always easy but it is necessary I believe. Relations ships can be destroyed, or strengthened. If we care about others we will recognize the power of apology and its healing effects for all involved.
Has an apology or lack of one affected your life?