One of the healthiest things we can do for our mind, body, and spirit is to offer an apology to someone we’ve wronged, once we realize we’ve wronged them. If we avoid saying, “I’m sorry” because it makes us feel ashamed or it makes us feel weak, we’re proving to ourselves that we do have something to be ashamed of, and we are weak.
We’re so weak, in fact, that we’ll feel the need to go a step further to protect our fragile ego. We’ll avoid the person we’ve wronged, for the reason that just seeing them reminds us of the wrong we did that we’re too embarrassed to rectify with an apology.
Eventually, since we now feel the need to avoid them, we actually start to resent them. By their very existence, they’re a reminder to us of the bad behavior we wish we weren’t guilty of, and wish we could forget; they’re a reminder that we didn’t have the self-acceptance and the self-esteem to say, “I’m human, and as such, I behaved badly. I wronged you, and I’m sorry.”
That “I’m sorry,” begins to put the relationship back on an even track. We’re giving the other person the opportunity to forgive and put it behind them too. Or not.
If they can’t forgive, or don’t want to forgive, at least we were big enough to give them that choice. But if we don’t have the courage to give them that choice, we’re doubling down on our bad behavior. By not acknowledging to them what we did, they remain a casualty of our misdeed, forever, even if they move on from it. We’ve lost, if not a friend, an ally. We’ll be remembered only for our wrongdoing. Nothing that came before that in the relationship we had with the person we’ve hurt will ever weigh in as heavily with them as the fact that we didn’t value them enough to take the steps we needed to fix the damage we caused.
And, like a small pebble thrown into a pond, that one seemingly tiny thing will have a ripple effect on us and that other person that’s bigger than we can imagine.
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