What’s so hard about apologizing? Obviously, when pride is in the mix, it makes everything more difficult. But, offering an apology, no matter how minor the infraction, is a powerful freeing agent for all parties.
One man learned this valuable lesson when he realized he was partly to blame for the rift in his family. “I spent my mental and emotional energy justifying myself while casting blame on everyone else,” he admitted. Continuing, he added, “It took years for me to realize that my own knee-jerk reaction to other people’s poor behavior was only making matters worse. Looking back, I can see how I was partly to blame for the divide in my family.”
This man took the high road when he reached out to each family member and offered a humble apology for anything he might have said or done that they found offensive. The results? Tears, forgiveness, cohesion, and a lot of hugs.
But what if his family members hadn’t responded so positively? He would still have enjoyed the benefits of offering an apology. We have no control how other people will react to our confession, but we do have control over how WE respond. Taking the high road leads to higher ground and reaps great benefits:
- We experience freedom – Taking ownership for our actions speaks volumes to other people involved in our infraction. Not only will we experience freedom from carrying a heavy burden—an apology can bring relief to the other person, as well.
- We can enjoy a clear and tender conscience – Our conscience is our best friend because it nudges us when something is amiss. If we cover up an error on our part, we risk the danger of having a hard or, worse, a seared conscience. This can result in insensitivity. Insensitive people withhold apologies from those who need them the most. Listen to your conscience and do the right thing.
- We humble ourselves – Humility often carries a negative connotation. We feel weak or vulnerable if we intentionally humble ourselves before others. Vulnerable? Probably. Weak? Never! While pride is the worst enemy to healthy relationships, humility is the best friend. True, our natural instinct is to protect our own egos; however, pride builds walls. The longer we allow a wall to stand, the harder it is to demolish. Let humility raze that wall so you can rise and walk the high road.
Do you owe someone an apology? When will you pay that debt?