And isn’t it amazing that two such simple words as “I’m sorry” can actually make people gag – metaphorically speaking of course?
The fact is that apologies in general are often undervalued – even though they can heal many ills.
So why is it such a difficult thing to do? Why do we go through so much emotional turmoil before we can bring ourselves to apologize?
Because it’s all about pride and the fear of losing face.
And if you think about it, it’s probably an emotional block that originated very early in life.
Cast your mind back to when you were little and see if you can remember an occasion when you first refused to apologize. It was probably for some minor offense.
But can you remember how bad you were made to feel because you refused to apologize? And how humiliating it was?
I can remember just such an occasion quite clearly. I don’t remember what transgression I had committed at the age of four that demanded an apology. But I do remember clearly how adamantly I refused and the subsequent humiliation that I suffered when I was made to back down and lose face.
And if truth be told it still rankles – which goes to show what an emotional impact it had on me.
Somehow the transgression itself is never as memorable as the emotional context that surrounds the subsequent apology.
It’s that emotional context that makes everything so difficult. Because it looms like a large shadow over and above the offense.
Apologies and Emotions
It’s hard enough to have to apologize for offending someone without getting trapped in the emotions that surround the incident.
That is why, when we apologize, it’s helpful to try to separate the offense from the emotion.
Granted; you may be in the wrong – but if you apologize you’ll find that you are usually able to put matters right surprisingly quickly.
And even if it isn’t particularly easy to do, you can certainly take the sting out of the situation.
An apology is the best way to pour oil on troubled waters.
Apologizing can have an almost miraculous effect on calming a seriously combustible situation.
Often it only requires a simple apology to tame the flames of an imminent inferno.