Why can’t we talk it over?– Elton John
Oh it seems to me
That sorry seems to be the hardest word
‘Sorry’: such an interesting word. It can have so many different meanings: completely depending on the actual intonation and intention of the ‘sorry’. And for many of people, sorry really seems to be the hardest word to say.
However, often people use saying sorry as an excuse, which makes sorry even the completely opposite of a difficult thing to say. ”I’m sorry, so forgive whatever I’ve done” but I might just do it again: because everything is forgivable with the simple sorry, right? I’ll just simply say sorry afterwards.
Being sorry is just simply not the same as saying sorry. In order for our ‘sorry’ to be actually worth something, we need to actually feel it. It’s not just about saying that you’re sorry. It’s about meaning that you’re truly regretting what happened, and that you ask the other for forgiveness. This way sorry can really be that magical word, and yes also one of the most difficult words to say.
I want to propose a small exercise, of which I believe most – if not everyone – could benefit from.
Next time you want to apologise, think of these steps:
1) Specify exactly what you’re saying sorry for.
for example: I’m sorry for saying XYZ to you. Or: I’m sorry I yelled at you in front of the office. Or: I’m sorry I didn’t call you when I said I would.
2) Admit that you were in the wrong.
for example: It was wrong of me to say this. Or: It was wrong of me to act the way I did.
3) Acknowledge the feelings you have or might have caused the other person.
for example: I understand if it made you angry with me. Or: I understand I embarrassed you.
4) Say sorry.
No ‘but’, no ‘if only’, no excuses. You’re sorry.
Now obviously depending on the situation, and the relationship with the other person, these steps can be enough. But most likely, you’re sorry will only get more meaning as time progresses and your actions follow the words. Show that you’re sorry, that you want to be a better person. That you care about others and how your behaviour might influence their feelings and experiences.
Being sorry is about being sensible to other people around you, acknowledging their feelings, and keeping a closer look on your own behaviour. Don’t just say sorry because you can. Say it when you mean it.