Linda Jackson Cocroft's Publisher's Notes

Remember, It's Okay to Say I'm Sorry' (July/Aug 2011)

Linda Jackson CocroftRecently my daughter and I had an exchange that resulted in her reluctant apology. Without admitting that she was wrong she confessed, 'I got it.' … meaning that she understood her mistake. I'm sorry. My husband, on the other hand, seldom if ever apologizes. Usually just saying "I'm sorry" would be a quick and acceptable remedy. Instead he compensates for his error by doing other things that he knows are pleasing.

I also know someone who will apologize but never acknowledges his fault in the situation. His apologies are always coated in excuses that justify his conduct or hurtful words. For me, the lesson here is regardless to how violated, embarrassed or hurt we are by what someone else does, how we respond is a personal choice.

I made a mistake. I apologize. I was wrong. I believe these words have healing powers and are the difference between a healthy relationship versus one shrouded in distrust, resentment and frustration. Obviously, the only thing worst is saying 'I'm sorry' when you don't really mean it. Then your trust and believability is forever compromised while also setting the stage for lingering feelings of hurt, frustration or betrayal.

A study conducted by the University of Michigan showed that apologizing might even have health benefits, such as lowering stress levels. In researching this subject, I discovered that the consensus of social scientists is that a thoughtful apology must:

  • Acknowledge the hurt or damage done.
  • Take responsibility for the situation
  • Admit your role in the event
  • Clearly indicate your regret for what happened
  • Ask for forgiveness
  • Promise that you will not consciously repeat this mistake again

I'm sorry are two little words that are healing, affirming and communicate your understanding and responsibility for the sting of your speech or actions. Saying 'I'm sorry' means that you respect and value the relationship. So, repeat after me … it's ok to say I'm sorry.

I'm on the journey with you. — LJC

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