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  • Writer's pictureMichael Gill

I Apologize

Saying sorry is not a sign of weakness or failure, but rather a sign of confidence and strength.

Self-pride can certainly be a barrier for those who might find it difficult to apologize. Some might think if they offer an apology that it makes them appear less perfect and potentially vulnerable. We all make mistakes, and we've all displayed behaviour that has required an apology at one point or another. Sorry is not just a word. For some, saying sorry is just a way to remove themselves from a situation, but sorry should be tied to efforts to avoid making the same mistake again.

Reconciliation is defined as the restoration of friendly relations. But again, what are the efforts made to restore? Before we offer words of apology, we should consider the harm or the pain of what we did to others and exercise empathy. We should reflect on the situation and determine ways to prevent repeating inappropriate behaviours. This can be a lot easier said than done. As humans, we tend to focus on a persona of perfection. We would rather be perceived as highly intelligent and less vulnerable to making mistakes or demonstrating errors in judgment. An apology is a word backed by action and regret and its outcome offers peace.

When I was younger, I saw two types of people demonstrated by my mother and father. My mother was always the one who showed the ability to recognize when she was wrong and offer an apology. She always followed through on her actions to improve in order to avoid a repeat scenario. My father, on the other hand, was full of self-pride and found it difficult to apologize; he was always in pursuit of demonstrating strength. I found I was stuck in the middle so often in understanding the appropriateness of an apology. When to offer one, and when to stand my ground. It was challenging, and to be honest, and I think at times I may have impacted relationships due to this confusion. As I have grown older and packed a bit more life experience behind me, I realize that with the right intent an apology does not always need to have any fault behind it. What I mean is that if there is an intention to be a better person and to strive to be better, then it should not matter if it was necessary or not. Some might view this as taking the high road, especially if someone is apologizing when they maybe did not have to, I guess that could be the case, but I will stick to my intent approach. And that if a person is striving to improve things through this perceived unnecessary apology, that it still offers a positive spin that is so much needed in the world these days. What we need is to place more purpose in an apology and recognize that it’s not just a word, but it also has an objective behind it, an objective to reconcile with improved behaviours and with guided empathy.

How many times should we have to say sorry?

This is a difficult question and the first thing that comes to mind is how serious was the offence. We should not always expect to be forgiven, and we should not always apologize with an expectation of forgiveness. I'm not saying that we should not forgive; I am saying that is another blog for another time, we should expect that our apology is put forth with the best intentions, as that is all we can do at times.

An apology is a window of opportunity to be better and to do better, we can’t apologize and continue to fall into the same misguided behaviours.

An apology requires actions, an apology should have meaning and purpose, an apology should not be an exit strategy, but rather form a new start.

So with that said, I will continue to grow stronger and I will always do my best to improve my behaviours, and I will always mean it when I apologize.

Want to discuss how to improve your growth as a leader around recognizing and knowing when and how to apologize? Want to bring this message to your team? Reach out, a call doesn't cost a thing!

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