“Sorry seems to be the hardest word.” Yet nowadays, it is one of the most overused phrases. “Sorry” now sounds more like lip service. It has somehow degraded into a very insincere word. And in this world of virtual communication, this gesture of remorse has already been masked by emojis. It seems like people apologize to get something instead of to give something unselfishly. When people say “sorry,” they want to gain forgiveness right away and sometimes forget that, often, what the other person really needs to hear is “I was wrong.” These words can do more to repair damaged relationships because they involve giving more of oneself rather than just gratifying the need for acceptance.
Saying “sorry” is only the beginning. Apologizing is just the start of the process of restitution. Whether it is at restitution of trust, stolen things or stolen time – it is only the first step of many.
Whether you are at fault or not, take the initiative to apologize first and apologize quickly. Relationships become strained when late apologies are common. Don’t be afraid to say sorry because you are too occupied with looking for the perfect words. Look people in the eye and acknowledge your mistake. In simple words, say why you are apologizing and do so calmly, perhaps after taking a few deep breaths.
Validate Others’ Emotions
In the rush to gain back favor from people, it is usual to say something like, “Don’t make a big deal out of it,” or “Just forget it! It’s nothing…” Yes, taking offense is a choice; but to fully dismiss that you have hurt someone by telling them to forget what they are going through, is like rubbing salt in the wound. We are human and being such we sometimes feel hurt, betrayal, offense, and many others. I don’t think feeling these things is wrong. It is natural. We need to acknowledge that. The Savior has felt all of these emotions as well. He felt pain and wept when He knew that his friend, Lazarus, had died. (John 11:35) He must have been very frustrated when He saw that the Temple had been made into “a house of merchandise”. (John 2:13-16) Even the Son of God went through all these human emotions, for that is how He is able to understand and succor us. Must we not acknowledge those same emotions in the people we are dealing with especially among those that we have offended? “The son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than He?” (Doctrine & Covenants 122:8)
Strive to mend broken relationships and strengthen them continuously. Make apologies an opportunity to give true sincerity instead of just taking forgiveness. It doesn’t matter how long it takes, keep working on your relationships. Investing in human connections empowers us to repair lives. It empowers us to repair the world. No effort is ever wasted. When we sincerely acknowledge our mistakes, saying “sorry” is more meaningful. Showing remorse and empathy makes saying “sorry” more acceptable. Working hard to restore of what has been lost – may it be good reputation, material things, or confidence – makes saying “sorry” more active and effective.
There is beauty in apologies. In our quest to be forgiven and make things alright again, we find ourselves changed. That is where the power lies. For it doesn’t just make the offended one feel better, it makes the offender become a better person. It is a refining process through which the natural tendencies of man are replaced by heavenly virtues. So we see, saying “sorry” is never enough, but it is a very good place to start.