Okay, this is my second least favorite phrase. #5 of 6 is…

I’m Sorry

“Play fair. Don’t hit people. Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.” – Robert Fulgham

“I’m Sorry” seems to be a phrase of extremes – it is either over-used or not used at all. I wrote an essay once complaining about the over-use of “Sorry” from my children:

“I can hear you saying now, “What’s wrong with ‘sorry’? I’m always trying to get mine to apologize when they make a mistake or offend someone. Why wouldn’t you want them to say they are sorry?”

What I am speaking of is the one that comes out as a whine, “Sorrrryyyyy”, or as an impudent exclamation, “Soreeee!” They aren’t sorry; they are simply blowing hot air out of their lungs at the same time as they wonder why in the world you could be so insensitive as to pick on them at this particular moment and time.”

I had a rather temperamental woman working for my housecleaning business. It was her habit to preface all confrontational statements with, “Well, I’m sorry, BUT…” I grew to dread those words, let me tell you.

The other side of sorry – that of not saying it at all – is just as bad. My husband is guilty of this. He’ll even come up with excuses for not saying sorry. It has often caused me to wonder if he would suffer actual harm from saying those two words! That said – I’m as bad as he is. I’m the master of the backhanded apology. The one that goes something like this, “I’m sorry I got annoyed with your constant whining and interruptions. I’ll try to be more patient in the future!”

All humor aside, “I’m sorry” is, as I said earlier, a phrase which should be used in moderation. It is a careful balance to find and it is different for each person. If you use it too often, consider cutting back. Most sentences should not start with, “Well, I’m sorry!” If you are an individual who doesn’t say it much, it can be rather shocking for those around you, so there’s no need to be particularly effusive.

“I’m sorry” said in moderation can be transformative. It allows you to address a glossed over hurt or wrong you may have inflicted on another without meaning to. It validates the other person’s right to have feelings and recognizes the need for respect and tolerance within each of us.

When said earnestly, with heartfelt apology and concern for another, it can serve as a release for both of you and allow you to move on and forge a stronger relationship. It proves you to be a better person, one who isn’t afraid to admit, “Hey, you know what? I screwed up. I made a mistake or I hurt you inadvertently. But I’m capable of learning from it and moving forward. Please accept my apology.”

That makes you stronger. It makes you a better person, inside and out. Give it a try and you will see what I mean.

Coming next week…#6 – “I Was Wrong”