This article will discuss why it is good to apologize and how you can use it to your advantage.
Funny, I’ve been writing an article on people who apologize for way too much, and I hadn’t even gotten to the point where I discussed how it’s good to apologize.
For those who don’t know, apologizing is the act of saying you’re sorry to someone, whether they’ve actually done anything to you or not.
I’m going to quickly run through a few different reasons as to why you should apologize.
We live in a world of instant gratification. Every day we make decisions that can make us feel good or bad.
When making a decision, we do not have time to second-guess our actions. To do so would take away from our day, and we would have to process all of our thoughts.
Our immediate needs always come before our long-term goals. This is why we are encouraged to be deliberate with our decisions.
Unfortunately, the same things also encourage us to be poor at taking ownership of our actions and making amends for our wrongdoings. I always preach to my clients that to feel better about our mistakes, we have to take the first step of apologizing to those we have wronged.
The choice to apologize is empowering because you are no longer a victim of the other person’s anger, hostility, or even confusion. You have taken the time to acknowledge your actions and even apologized for your transgressions.
So why is it good to apologize?
Taking ownership of your mistakes is a clear sign of growth, humility, and character. When we have remorse for our actions, we are in a different place mentally and spiritually than when we did them.
When we truly take ownership of our mistakes, we begin to understand where the other person is coming from. We realize the psychological and emotional investment that we have made into a relationship and forced their children into a complicated and challenging situation.
For example, in a divorce situation, a wife may start accusing the husband of cheating on her or lying to her. The husband will likely deny these accusations, but the wife can never know for sure.
She may accuse the husband of calling her names, breaking promises, or more. The wife has justified his behavior. She can’t trust him because she is a victim of his imperfections.
The husband’s defenses against his wife’s accusations may appear rational, and he may even make sense in his defense. However, the accused will never truly know the validity of the accusation.
It is what we do in the midst of this situation that will cause both the woman and the husband to feel wronged. Instead of apologizing, she will continue to anger him and may even break off the relationship. In the end, neither party can move forward.
This is where apologizing comes into play. We have to apologize because we are genuinely sorry for hurting the other person, and we don’t want to spend the rest of our lives with our anger towards each other. Apologizing for shows that we truly have our hearts in the right place, and we will try to be the better person.
The other person will always try to portray a false self, so it is important to be cautious with our accusations. Our actions speak louder than our words.
It is the truth about us and our actions that are the true measure of our character.
Keep it brief
One of the biggest reasons that you should apologize is that it will keep things short and concise.
I know that I personally hate when people apologize for things that aren’t even their fault.
For example, if I’m the one who throws my car keys on the floor, it’s none of my business if you step on them.
Still, it wouldn’t hurt to make sure that it happens because, if you’re going to apologize, it’s almost always a good idea actually to mean what you’re saying.
Another reason that you should apologize is that it lets your voice be heard.
Why? Well, if you keep a reputation of being the asshole that gets away with everything and nothing ever seems to happen to you, people will probably feel free to do the same to you.
I’ve found that, after you apologize, people generally don’t have anything bad to say about you and will be extra grateful for your honest, sincere words.
It can be helpful for you and the other person
Once you get over the “feeling sorry for me” feelings, you’re more than likely going to get what you want out of the situation.
Instead of just dragging the other person through the mud, apologizing can help you save face and get them to end the conversation in a way that’s more beneficial for both of you.
Another example is when I’m trying to get a business or client to do something for me.
It’s effortless to send an email and tell them that “I’ll take care of it myself” or “I’ll look into it and let you know what we find out.”
While I don’t think that you should never say those things, they aren’t the best ways to get them to do something for you.
Taking ownership of your mistakes means that you should not need to apologize to those that have wronged you. However, if you make a mistake that is hurtful to another person, then you should apologize.
In my practice, I have seen several situations where the apology is offered years after the offense. Both parties have to work through their issues, so it is good to apologize before the relationship ends.
Although it is a bit of a cop-out, this is when both people should feel that they have an exit strategy for their relationship, and both should feel that there is room for them to move on in their lives.
Even though you should apologize for things that you may have actually done wrong, it’s also important not to apologize for things that are out of your control.
For example, if someone breaks into your house, there’s nothing that you can do about that. What you can do, though, is apologize for your foolishness and let them know that it won’t happen again.
Be careful how you use an apology
At the end of the day, the most important thing to remember is not to make too big of a deal out of your apology.
The only time that I think that you should actually apologize for something is if the other person was in some way injured, not just your own.
You should always try to be careful with this, as some people will try to use it against you, but if that happens, then that’s a different story.
I’ve had one or two weird characters try to use this against me, but they’re all in the minority.
Ultimately, I think that a good, proper apology is key to letting other people know that you’re going to be there for them when they need you.
If you have any thoughts on the subject, please share them in the comments section below!