I’ve always known this to be true. I was unaware of how much more difficult this would be as I got older. Apologizing to friends, co-workers, family is almost a hard thing to do especially when you know you made a mistake. Recently, I had to apologize to a student who works for me because she was put off by a few things I said to her on multiple occasions. One time, I could chalk it up to a bad day or being distracted, but multiple times? Here’s the worst part, I didn’t even remember the examples she mentioned, but I could tell she did by the look in her eye.
I had to apologize. Not just for what I did, but not even remembering what I did. It would have been so easy for me as her boss to brush it aside and move forward. Seeing in her eyes what the apology meant to her and the courage it took for her to tell me, I promised myself two things. Always apologize when I mean it and pay more attention to words I say.
Sometimes we avoid the apology because it creates an uncomfortable conversation. Sometimes we avoid the apology because it forces us to not only admit to ourselves we made a mistake, but it forces it us to say to another person that we were wrong. Use your apologies sparingly. Don’t apologize just because it will make a fight end faster or because you just don’t care. When we overuse it, the meaning isn’t there when we want it to be. Which is why when you apologize, when you apology, you better mean it.