An apology can heal but it can also kill. There are thousands of ways to apologize but only a few are actually delivering an effective apology which clears the path to a renewed relationship. Most of the time the way we apologize is ineffective and can’t repair the damage. So what do you say in order to heal and restore integrity when you have made a mistake and hurt someone? Read on to find out.
The difference between “I am sorry” and “Please forgive me”
No experience is real. Only the interpretation of an experience makes it seem real. And the interpretation is arbitrary, it’s a choice. There is absolutely nothing to any experience that warrants one kind of interpretation or another. Choose an empowered interpretation and you will live a happy life. Choose a disempowered interpretation, and you will live a pitiful life.
Language plays a crucial role in the interpretation of an experience. Let’s say you did something wrong by someone. You slapped your child, you were unfaithful to your partner, or you lied to someone. They feel hurt, disappointed and betrayed. Should you feel sorry? NO!
When you say “I am sorry”, it means you feel sorry for the person you are trying to apologize to, and you make them small, powerless and pitiful. You feel sorry for them, and they feel like the victim. This can open the door for them to emotional blackmail and manipulation. It also makes you feel guilty but you shouldn’t experience guilt as guilt renders your paralyzed and implies that things are beyond repairable. Instead, you should feel responsibility, which will give you the drive to heal and restore integrity. So what do you say instead of “I am sorry”?
If you say “I apologize and I ask for your furtiveness”, you empower the person you have hurt. You no longer feel sorry for them and you don’t imply that they are miserable and pitiful. You tell them they have got something you are asking of them – their forgiveness. You can then go a step further and thank them. Thank them for having been patient, generous, understanding, kind and loving. This way you empower them even more. Now both parties stand equal. Neither feels miserable, guilty, pitiful or sorry. Both can step into the realm of responsibility. And the responsibility falls on both parties – there is a choice of interpretation to be made and each party is responsible for the way they choose to interpret the given circumstances. Rest assured, if you have asked for forgiveness and expressed gratitude, you have done everything you can to empower the other person to choose an interpretation of the circumstances that allows them to live a happy life. Now simply let go. The choice that the other person makes is their responsibility and none of your business.