Love Means Sometimes Having to Say, "I'm Sorry"
Kitty J. Boitnott, Ph.D., NBCT, RScP
Certified Life Strategies & Stress Management Coach
Career Transition & Development Coach
Do you remember the book that later became the movie, Love Story? One of the more famous lines that came out of the movie was "Love means never having to say you're sorry." It sounds good...but I don't believe it's true. For the video message, click here.
When you have hurt someone you care about, of course you need to say you're sorry. Without an appropriate and heartfelt apology, getting the relationship back on track is almost impossible. One of you must acknowledge the upset, get real about your feelings, and the offending person must be willing to take ownership and apologize.
In turn, the person who was offended must be willing to listen to the apology with an open mind and heart and must be willing to accept the apology in order to move forward.
Just saying, "Sorry," isn't enough. You must acknowledge what you did that was wrong or hurtful.
You also can't get away with "I'm sorry if you were hurt," or "I'm sorry you didn't understand," or "I'm sorry, but...." Anything that follows the word "but" will simply nullify the "I'm sorry," so don't incorporate "but" anywhere in the apology if you are sincerely sorry.
And if you aren't sincerely sorry, don't waste your time or the other person's time. Offering an insincere apology in an effort to manipulate the other person is insulting and it is beneath you.
Everyone occasionally hurts someone else either intentionally or unintentionally. Until you can see things from someone else's point of view, you may not understand why they are upset with you or why they are hurt or angry. That requires that you climb down off you own "high horse" and try to see things through their point of view. When you are able to do that, you may be able to understand exactly why they are upset with you, and that empathy will let you state your apology from a sincere and authentic place.
Love means being willing to see things from the perspective of those we love and seeing that they may have a right to feel hurt and upset with you. Love means being willing to offer a sincere apology when it is called for. Love means losing the bravado of not wanting to admit a mistake or wrong doing long enough to say you are sorry, ask for forgiveness, and promising that you won't do whatever it was you did or say whatever it was you said again. Love means trying to see through the beloved's perspective.
Sometimes you just need to say you are sorry. Learn how to do it properly and avoid a whole lot of heartache and bitterness.
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