4 Reasons people find it hard to apologize
‘I am sorry’
Yes, these words appear so easy to say; from cradle, we have been taught to apologize to people when we hurt them. You would expect that as we grew older, we will find these words much easier to say…but for most people, the reverse seems to be the case. Growing up, I found it extremely hard to apologize. I would rather find ways to ‘show you’ how sorry I was, than tell you. Do you find yourself guilty of the same? Well you are not alone. There are so many reasons why people find it hard to say the words ‘I am sorry’ (i also love the way for the family explained some of these reasons). To better understand their reasons, it will be best to place these people in categories… Let’s start then!
- This group of people see apology as a sign of weakness. Believe me; one of the reasons why people find it hard to apologize is because they don’t want to be perceived as weak. They believe that saying ‘I’m sorry’ will make them look vulnerable, which may give room for people to treat them unfairly. Most people struggling with self esteem and identity crises fall into this category. They believe that saying ‘I’m sorry’ will expose their already vulnerability- thus giving people something to abuse them with.
- Another set of people that find it hard to apologize are the people with fears of rejection. For most people, their fear of being rejected after apologizing prevents them from even daring to give one. People with low self esteem, proud and egocentric people all fall into this category. Most people don’t know how to deal with rejection; they see rejection as an attack on their person, so they chose to rather not apologize, than face their fear of not being forgiven, even after apologizing.
- I call this next group of people ‘the perfectionist’. Perfectionists find it hard to apologize because an apology is simply admitting to a fault or a mistake- which as a perfectionist, you are not permitted to have. That is the reason why they hardly apologize, because they see apologies as a sign of inadequacy and incompetency. So they prefer to rather live in the denial of a fault or flaw than to apologize and admit to having a flaw.
- There is another group of people that find it hard to apologize because of their ‘black and white’ view of life. This people equate giving apology to losing and receiving the apology to winning. Its sounds funny but it is true. People with a competitive metaphor of life are the people you will see in this category. They are the people who see everything as a competition. They are also the worst people to argue with, because they would never admit to ever being wrong.
Yes, apologizing is never easy because man by nature can be proud. Contrary to what we must have believed, apologizing when you wrong others is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength. It takes a lot of courage to keep your pride aside and admit to having hurt someone’s feeling, or cause someone pain. It takes strength to admit to a mistake and accept responsibility for it- such people are the people I have the most respect for.
Apologizing makes us appear vulnerable, it requires us to remove the blinders and face our flaw…which is a very good thing; because for us to have a healthy relationship, we must be able to show a level of vulnerability. Nobody wants to have a relationship with someone who cannot take responsibility for his action, or someone who cannot admit to being human (mistakes tells us we are humans, and we are not perfect), but will always look for ways to excuse his actions. Such relationship is unsafe and untrustworthy. Everybody wants to be surrounded by people who will readily apologize when they wrong them. If we love having this kind of people around us, we should also make the decision to become people who can say the words ‘I’m sorry’ willingly and sincerely.
Remember it takes two to tango. Let’s work on making the words ‘I’m sorry’ work for us and with us, everyday of our lives.
Let’s hear your story; do you struggle with apologizing to people? Which category of people will you say you fall into? What practical effort have you made towards apologizing more?