Here I go again writing about apologies. I would say that I am sorry for that but I’m not. There is more to be said since apologies are such an important part of relationships. In the old movie “Love Story” when the male heart-throb says “Love means never having to say you are sorry” I cringe. Of course you have to say that you are sorry! We hurt people by what we say and do and we have to let them know that we regret hurting them.
What makes me take pause is that sometimes people start a sentence with, “I’m sorry, but…”, and then go on to bring up how the other person was also at fault. A heartfelt apology doesn’t have a second part that starts with “but”. Do not ask the other person to share responsibility for what you did. Make your apology pure and accept accountability. There is a place for talking about how the other person’s actions affected you. Maybe that sentence is “And there is something else that I want to talk about.” Keep “but” and “and” separate. When the word “but” follows an apology it tends to negate and diminish the weight of the first part. The acknowledgment of accountability becomes thin and transparent. Courage to be real is covered up by aggressively blaming and shaming.
Apologies are part of the evolving foundation of a relationship. Being vulnerable makes it easier to believe that you are trustworthy. Setting up a hierarchy does not nourish trust and intimacy. Go ahead and risk being human. Needing to be right all of the time is a sign of weakness. Real power is found in listening and committing to the viability of the relationship.