How many times have you heard someone apologize for something, just to follow it up with somehow putting the blame back on you. For example, “I am sorry I yelled at you, but you shouldn’t have done that.” Or, “I am sorry I let you down, but you let me down first.” In most apologies, the words “I am sorry” are followed by “but,” somehow blaming someone or something else for our own actions. Don’t get me wrong, there are times where a “but” can follow saying you are sorry, but should only be said when things are truly out of your control. In most cases, when something is your fault, you MUST own it.
A Half-Hearted “I’m Sorry”
This is an “I’m sorry” when you don’t really mean it. When you feel like you are suppose to say it, so you say it, but either don’t want to or don’t really mean it. This will NOT improve your relationships. When you have done something wrong and need to apologize, giving a half-hearted apology can do more damage than good. When you don’t really mean it, it hurts the relationship that much more. As someone who has been done wrong can tell you, it is that much more hurtful to not only be hurt but feel like the person who hurt you doesn’t care. This is a double smack in the face that can drive a wedge in between relationships. There is a better way and can be as simple as adding a short sentence to your apology.
“Please forgive me.”
The best thing to say after you say “I’m sorry” is “Please forgive me.” When you ask the person to forgive you, you are owning what you have done wrong and not putting the blame on anyone else. You are telling the other person that you know you hurt them and you have no excuse. You are asking them to forgive you because you have done wrong and want things to be right. Taking this approach removes the typical backhand slap that comes with most apologies. There is no “but” in your apology. Just a sincere admission that you were wrong or it is your fault, showing remorse and asking for forgiveness. These are the best words to follow an apology.
We often apologize for our wrong doings but still fall victims to our own egos. We know we need to apologize but let our egos somehow put the blame elsewhere rather than on ourselves. Why is it so hard to own when we are wrong? We seem to let our ego take over rather than show the humility needed to truly say we are sorry and wish to be forgiven.
If you find yourself always apologizing followed by a “but”, then you are not truly sorry and you are diminishing your relationships. No one wants to receive an apology where they are told they are part of the fault. This type of approach can destroy relationships over time. Instead, show some humility. Own what you have done wrong or things for which you are responsible. Don’t blame others. Be humble and own what you have done wrong. Apologize to the special people in your life and follow it up with a humble request to be forgiven. This is how you strengthen relationships. If you don’t believe me, make a focused effort to say “Please forgive me” once you have apologized. Watch how that short sentence can pull someone closer to you, rather than push them farther away.