It is human nature to hurt people at times. Overwhelming feelings, stress, work, life etc. can all cause us to engage in ways that we aren’t always proud of or even aware of at certain times. In relationships, damage occurs not just when we hurt someone but also when we don’t adequately try to repair the damage we have done. Where people often get lost is in assuming that apologizing is an admission of wrongdoing – as though our intentions are always in line with our actions. It never ceases to amaze me how tripped up people get about right and wrong, winning and losing in relationships. The aim becomes more about beating one’s partner than about playing on the same team.
On the flip side, many people will apologize without really taking the time to reflect on their actions and so their apologies seem empty. There can be significant damage done if our apologies are flippant and come across as insincere. If the focus is on justifying, rationalizing or explaining our actions instead of just acknowledging the impact our actions have had, we miss the point and continue to prioritize our own well-being over our partners.
Apologizing is about acknowledging that sometimes we do things that have an impact on people. It is about admitting that we are human, and therefore flawed, which means we engage in ways that on occasion will have a negative impact on those we’re connected to. It is about making amends when we have caused pain. In my opinion, when used correctly, apologies are one of the most important tools in making a relationship succeed. They create opportunities to strengthen the connection and prioritize the health of the relationship through repairing damage that has been done. To learn more about the art of apologizing I have attached a few different viewpoints on the art of apologizing. I would encourage you take a read and see what fits best for you and then spend some time looking at how you can strengthen this tool and use it to its full potential. When the opportunity arises to say I am sorry, make it count by honestly acknowledging the needs of your partner and relationship.