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The definition of apology is a regretful acknowledgment of an offense or failure. Do you find it hard to apologize? To some, apologizing can be hard. There are different reasons why saying I’m sorry may seem difficult, but today, we are going to talk about why being able to say you are sorry is important. It not only keeps your relationships healthier; it keeps you healthier. Can you recall the last time you said you was sorry to someone? Was that hard for you? Keep reading, maybe you can find this encouraging in helping you apologize more freely and genuinely.

Apologizing Can be Hard.

There are so many different scenarios that could influence why we may find it hard to say “I’m sorry”. Regardless of the reason, if we find it hard, we need to process why and work on resolving that. We are all human and humans make mistakes. We will all find ourselves frustrated or stressed and we may react in ways that could hurt someone. Simply put, if we don’t learn the value of recognizing when we are wrong, we could find ourselves with a trail of strained or broken relationships. Below are a few examples of common reasons people find it hard to apologize.

  • Pride or ego
  • Inability to see themselves as sometimes wrong
  • Deep insecurities that prevent them from seeing another area of needed change
  • Natural consequence was not part of their upbringing
  • Past trauma that has not been resolved
  • Built up resentment toward the person
  • Emotional immaturity
  • They avoid confrontation

Having the ability to apologize can look different within each relationship. You may even find it easier with some and harder with others. I encourage you to try and think through why it hard for you to apologize to someone because, as you will read below, it is important to you and a healthier way to carry out relationships.

Why is Apologizing Important?

I know, it can be hard, but it is necessary. We all do things that require apologies and when we hold those in, it is damaging. It has an impact on us mentally, emotionally and physically. When we go about life never apologizing for hurting someone’s feelings or doing something that hurt them, we can create lasting damage to the relationships of those we love and care about. Apologizing also helps to keep us humble and in a place of being open to communication, which is necessary in every type of relationship. Below are some affects that come from being open to apologizing.

  • Build healthy, lasting relationships
  • Establish and keep trust between two people
  • A show of respect for one another
  • Proof you value the other person
  • Maintain an honest account within yourself of your actions
  • Helps establish a humble way to live with others
  • Shows integrity toward others
  • Helps improve many health aspects such as heart, blood pressure, pain & depression

When we are not able to regularly see how we hurt someone and apologize for it, our subconscious holds on to all the strife. Over time, this will take a toll in many different ways. If apologizing is new to you, don’t worry. Below, we take a look at ways to take steps toward saying you are sorry.

How to Say I’m Sorry.

Let’s face it, it can be hard to admit we are wrong. Especially to someone who we are in moral or ethical conflict with. But remember, apologizing is for you, not just them. Being able to read someone’s cues that you have hurt them is important. We have to slow down so we can ask a humble and genuine question of if we have hurt them. Being able to then listen to what hurt them without interrupting or explaining away your wrongdoing is key to resolving the conflict. Have you heard the saying that “we listen to form what we are going to say next”? Instead, try to listen with the intent of hearing what the person is feeling or saying to you. Below are some suggestions if struggle to apologize.

  • Apologize, even if it you didn’t do it on purpose
  • State what you are apologizing for
  • Don’t try to explain it away or make excuses
  • Acknowledge how it affected them and voice your desire to not hurt them
  • Commit to making future efforts to not do it again
  • If needed, take care of any damage you caused financially
  • Don’t expect an apology in return

Apologizing should come from a sincere place within you that recognizes the harm you have caused. It can take time to learn to authentically apologize. Don’t give up. If you try to apologize and get one of the steps off, remember that for next time. There will always be a next time. Remember, we are human and humans make mistakes. Mistakes require apologies.

If you find it hard to take steps to apologize, there could be something from your past that is unresolved. It may require help, and that is ok. Reach out! Upstate Restorative Counseling is here to help you. You are not alone.