My youngest is very much against the word, “sorry.”
I have been reflecting about this and am starting to see his point — sorry is a platitude. We kinda want sorry to fix it so we can forget it. Worse yet is the, “I’m sorry you feel that way,” putting all the onus on the person who is upset.
Growing up in my house, we learned to acknowledge our part in any conflict then discuss with the other person[s] in the conflict until we agreed to some sort of solution. That had its pro’s and con’s, because some people were more comfortable with conflict than others.
Iyanla VanZant suggested three steps that are similar but I think better, and then I’ve tweaked them a bit further with the aim of clearing the conscience so that we can more fully do the work God has planned for us. I believe very strongly that every person, children and adults, should know these three steps for those reasons:
Often, our egos are waaaay too weak to be able to acknowledge our part in a conflict or problem. But, most of the time, it takes [at least] two to tango. Is someone treating you poorly? Why are you letting them? Did you offend someone? All things a learning opportunity.
If you grew up in a household with a narcissist or getting blamed for things that were not your doing, etc., it can be easy to become protective and defensive. So this first step will be a challenge for you. But admitting your wrongdoings or poor choices to yourself is a really big deal–without acknowledging to yourself, you are stuck stagnant and outta luck.
So acknowledge your mistake to yourself. Then acknowledge it to the person or people whom you wronged.
Yup, apologize. I’m definitely not talking about platitudes, and I’m definitely not talking about accepting more responsibility than is yours to own. Explain your feelings: “I am ashamed that I …” “I regret that I >>>>” “I am disappointed that I responded by —-” “I wish you had ___ and that I had ____.”
Finally, make amends. Do what you can to compensate for your mistake. That isn’t always a tangible, visible action item.
Additionally, or if it is your only choice, determine any changes you need to make in future choices. Determine your triggers and either eliminate them or figure out how to deal with them before they become a problem. Figure out what got you into this mess and how you’re going to avoid something similar in the future.
Is it to yourself that you need to apologize? Rinse and repeat.