The importance of repairing your relationship when there’s been a misunderstanding or a major letdown cannot be underestimated.
It is a human and biological need to feel heard and understood. We all need to feel respected. Yet, as fragile as we humans are, it is so easy for us to be hurt.
A friend recently complained that in 30 years of marriage her husband had only ever apologized about three times! Another friend who has been married for even longer once confided in me that her husband had never ever apologized. It can easily be the reverse. Men and women sometimes find it difficult to admit a mistake or to take responsibility. Saying sorry and really meaning it, goes along way to enhance the friendship and connectedness of relationships. We can do this by words and by behavior. For some, the old adage applies: ‘actions speak louder than words!’
And yet for others it is not a big deal and it can roll off the tongue too easily! One person I spoke with joked that it would be easier if she just apologized in advance for all the things she didn’t yet know about that she had done wrong! However, when sorry is offered as a replacement for commitment to changing behaviors, then resentment and despair set in.
Yet, it is enormously therapeutic when the opposite occurs. It takes humility and courage to really acknowledge when you have caused hurt and pain and to take steps to amend the situation. But true growth in the relationship and in personal maturity can occur when this happens!
Being truly prepared to walk a mile in another’s shoes, to listen fully, and to try and understand the effects of your behavior without justifying or defending it, this is where deep healing becomes possible.
A sincere apology is like a balm to the woundedness of our human psyche. And the words “I am sorry, please forgive me”, will most likely, when combined with an honest acknowledgement of responsibility, heal the person who offers it, even if the apology is not received. The Hawaiian Hoopoonopono prayer goes like this: I’m sorry, please forgive me, I thank you and I love you. A sincere apology is like a gift that opens the heart and has a ripple effect throughout the relationship.
This post was originally published here.