Catriona Futter – Equip For Life Coaching Becoming your best self and living life to the full – 07713 974138

Choosing to say sorry – the power of apology.

What power is there in saying sorry?

What power is there in saying sorry?

Talking about pride inevitably leads to the need for saying sorry – after all, it is one of life’s biggest clichés that pride comes before a fall. The child learning to walk that we thought about last week falls repeatedly, but generally gets back up again and has another shot. Perhaps with a few tears, perhaps needing some reassurance from a nearby provider of TLC.

But falls over, realises the need to get back up, and is not afraid to try again. How willing are we to take the same approach? When we get it wrong, how often does our pride keep us flat on our faces in our mistakes, unwilling to say sorry and seek to make amends?

We all make mistakes – to err is human after all. None of us is perfect, and saying sorry is about taking personal responsibility for our actions. We get it wrong in so many ways – by what we say and do, or what we fail to say and do. Sins of omission or sins of commission both.

Imagine a situation where two parties have fallen out.

Years have passed, but there have been no words exchanged between them, despite a previous close friendship. The cause of the fall out is so far in the distant past as to have been forgotten, but pride keeps both parties walled up behind an unwillingness to make the first move towards apology and reconciliation.

Strikes me as being desperately sad, and a tragic waste.

Even sadder when this happens within families, and loved ones go to their graves embittered with unspoken hurts and resentments, too consumed by pride or fear to break down barriers and regain love and hope.

The 1970 film Love Story contained the famous line,

Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”

The idea behind this is that unconditional love should enable us to make allowances for people to an unlimited degree, despite their failings. To me, this is not only wrong, but very damaging. The toxic combination of hurt, resentment, unforgiveness and bitterness that can ensue in the absence of true repentance and forgiveness can literally poison someone from the inside, eating them alive. [Of course, herein lies a different choice – choosing to forgive when there is no apology forthcoming – more next week.]

What do we want to be known for?

Admitting we got it wrong and saying sorry takes courage and humility. A willingness to accept responsibility for our own actions.

Perhaps it is easier to apportion blame onto the other, to play the victim, to seek to excuse our behaviour with endless mediating factors.

But who does that make us? What example are we giving to those around us?

When we have been the cause of hurt, of whatever magnitude, the route back to healing and restoration comes through those two most courageous words

I’m sorry.”

Followed by the equally humble,

Can you forgive me?”

It can be tempting to add qualifiers and justifiers to excuse ourselves or try and save face. But a simple, unconditional apology has the potential to powerfully unlock an impasse of hurt and prevent it escalating into resentment and bitterness. It allows the wronged party to offer forgiveness, releases them from hurt and potential bitterness.

When have there been times in your life that you have missed an opportunity to say sorry? What situation did that lead to, and what difference would a humble apology have made?

Is there a situation of hurt or disconnect that you find yourself in just now that is of your own making?

Perhaps a little self reflection: What is that relationship worth – more or less than your own pride?

Picture that relationship restored and healthy. What would a good outcome be?

Then make a choice – to let go of pride and fear, and say sorry.

Inspired? Encouraged? Get in touch!

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