The Importance of saying ‘I’m Sorry’

© PENELOPE PEZ

Sometimes it is incredible how the littlest thing can spell out the beginning of the end of a relationship. One of these things is when one of two persons just cannot bring himself to say ‘I’m sorry’. Three little words which mean so much. Care. Respect. Attention. Love.

But – some people just CANNOT SAY IT!

Why is it so hard for certain individuals to admit that they can be wrong? Is the ego so big as to actually believe this? Some even make you feel guilty for just having pointed out their mistakes.

It could be something inconsequential like turning up the TV volume and waking the other from a nap, or something more serious, like being lied to, but those three little words: ‘I am sorry’, could be the bridge that solves the issue.

Not admitting a fault can sometimes have dire consequences. It could show callousness, coldness, or just plain indifference – traits which should not be present in a happy and well-adjusted relationship.

One might well ignore the issue the first, second, and even third time, but honestly, who wants to live their life with an ego-centric partner who thinks he/she is always right?

Unfortunately, most people tend to view an apology as the sign of a weak character, when actually, admitting one’s faults, is in fact a great strength and a sign that a person is willing to learn to adopt a more open and communicative relationship.

Still, individuals tend to feel diminished, belittled and humiliated when they know that they need to apologise. Thinking about how to formulate one’s ‘speech of apology’ is always agonising and problematic, however most of the time, a straight statement about how you feel and why you think your behaviour was not appropriate, is more than enough.

Another thing is to show the other person that the slight or offence you are apologising for, does not, and in fact should not, reflect all the facets of the relationship, but only a sole issue. An apology is a symbolic reparation for a time of hurt and discomfort experienced by the other person, therefore it is important for it to be clear and heartfelt, as well as honest.

Be sure not to make the common mistake of trivializing the matter in an attempt to diminish your mistake.

Timing is also very important. Saying you are sorry at a packed club where you have to scream to be heard, is a definite no-no. Wait for the moment when you are alone with the person you want to talk to, let this person know that you need to talk to him/her calmly and rationally, and ask to be given the chance to express how you feel.

It may be hard, and it will be uncomfortable, just keep in mind that an apology can start with the most simple things, like holding your partner’s hand, giving them a small gift, taking them to a place which is special to both of you, or even playing their favourite song in the background.

In the end, it is important to ask yourself whether not saying you’re sorry is worth loosing the person you love. Is it your pride or your partner that’s most important to you?