This two-episode special is based on a course that Dr. Harriet Lerner and I did together on her groundbreaking book, Why Won’t You Apologize?: Healing Big Betrayals and Everyday Hurts. You can expect authentic, hard conversations (and one helluva role play) about making mistakes, healing hurts, and being brave. Harriet is a friend, mentor, and teacher. Her work has shaped my career and made my life better. During a time of deep uncertainty and anxiety – when many of us have struggled to be our best selves all of the time – apologizing has never been more important.
” I’m Sorry: How to Apologize and Why It Matters, Part 1 of 2 “
In the podcast at hand, Dr. Harriet and Brenè talked about so many points about the art and importance of apologizing. As she said, at the end of the day, we are humans, we hurt and get hurt, so we need to learn how to apologize. However, this is not an easy topic as Brenè said. They shed light on some ideas that are worth sharing.
Apologizing to others is difficult, but there are three gifts for apologizing as Harriet revealed. First, it’s a gift to the person being hurt. I emphatically agree with this point because I feel refreshed and calmed the minute someone apologizes to me. It releases the tension of anger. A sense of emotional safety occurs. Second, it’s a gift again to the hurting party because it’s like a new start of a comfortable and new relationship as it makes the other person feel remorse. Third, it’s a gift that validates the reality that the one hurting knows that they “screwed up”.
When someone wants to apologize, s/he is more likely to feel small and vulnerable. To me, in a relationship, an apology is the only thing that keeps the relationship alive. We are humans and we mess up at times. For that, we need to learn how to apologize to the other person, be it our friend, parent, spouse, or children. However, it’s a quality not everybody has.
As far as I am concerned, I came from a background where an apology is not that common. I could not come up with a good apology thinking if I apologize, it basically means that I am weak, for me to realize that I was wrong. On the contrary, an apology is a strength. I lose respect for someone who fails to acknowledge their mistakes and apologize. Even though apologizing is something good, “I am sorry” doesn’t always cut it. It can be used in so many ways, as a weapon or as an excuse. But when the person means it, “I am sorry” can be the best thing one can hear.