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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Why It's So Hard to Apologize

     Sometimes apologizing is like trying to cough up a fur ball.  I don't know what that means exactly because I don't own a cat.  But I imagine it must be like having something tasteless, dry, and suffocating wedged in your throat.  Those who struggle with forming the words "I'm sorry" feel it would be better to choke them down than cough them up.  Why?  Oftentimes, it's because they don't want to be wrong.  Apologizing is an admission of "blowing it" on some level.  Regardless of the size of the infraction, someone or something has gotten hurt, or at the very least, inconvenienced in some way.  An apology says, "I am wrong".  Some people don't accept that they make certain mistakes so rather than own them, they blame others or excuse their behavior.  You've heard it:  "That wasn't my fault.  If he hadn't done this, I wouldn't have done that."
     Another reason why apologizing seems hard is because it is perceived as weakening the position people have worked hard to establish for themselves.  If I'm a boss, and I made a bad decision in leading my team, I don't want to look like I don't know what I'm doing.  As a result, I won't admit my mistake.  If I'm a husband and father trying to lead my household, and I drop the ball in meeting the needs of the family because I didn't listen to them, I won't admit my negligence because I don't want to lose their respect.  If I'm a service provider, and my service falls short of my customers' expectations, then I make excuses because I don't want to lose their business or compromise my reputation.  Somehow, apologizing has been wrongly linked to loss.  People believe they lose in apologizing.  But what they don't realize is that to say "I'm sorry" actually increases their position in the minds of others, not weakens it.  Because not many people will hold themselves accountable for their actions, (not the insecure or overly confident ones anyway) people find it refreshing when they do hear an apology.  Thus, raising the apologists' respect level another notch in the minds of the witnesses and beneficiaries of it.

     Therefore, if you feel that trying to push out an apology is as hard (and yucky) as that kitty trying to dislodge that fur ball from his gut, then keep this in mind:  the power in saying those two simple words raises your esteem far higher than NOT saying those two words will ever lower it.  One more thing--if I've said anything in this blog entry that offends anyone, please accept my sincere apology.