Two words, maybe three, and they hold the power of the world.
Just I’m sorry.
One of the saddest things in the world is when someone knows they’ve wronged another but simply can not apologize. The words won’t form. Because the person can not consciously own their action.
Last month I saw this exact scenario on the Showtime series, Nurse Jackie. Jackie, who’s an addict, just could not own her actions and went to great lengths to avoid saying she was sorry. This is not uncommon with addicts, as I learned only too well some years ago. Sometimes they even insist they have apologized. And maybe, in their minds, they have.
“I know you say I never apologized but I think I have,” someone once said to me. The comment was telling. It was not “I know you say I never apologized, so let me take this opportunity to tell you how sorry I am that I…..” It was “I already did, so I don’t have to.” Still, years later, the words failed to form.
Fortunately, enough time had elapsed that I could laugh to myself about it when I recognized it.
So, we unintentionally hurt people all the time. We’re not perfect. It happens. I think we know when we do it, too, either because we realize it when the word or action happens, or we can tell by the other person’s response. When that’s not followed up by an apology, well, it says everything about who that person is in terms of their personal development.
“I’m sorry.” Very powerful words.
Oh, and while were at it, here are a couple more that I’ve found useful in my life.
Please forgive me.
I love you.
Note to self: use them more often.